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Marc Joshua Straus
June 2, 1943
|Occupation||Art Gallery Owner|
Straus is the son of Samuel Straus (1914–1985) an Ashkenazi Jewish Polish immigrant from Sambir (now in the Ukraine), who came to New York impoverished at age 15. Samuel's mother had died when he was three months old. Straus's mother, Dora Straus (1918–2008) was a daughter of immigrants from Austria-Hungary. Her father worked as a tailor in Brooklyn, New York. In 1943, Straus's father Samuel opened Roman Cotton Goods, a wholesale textile store, in Manhattan's Lower Eastside.
In 1946, the family moved to West Hempstead, Long Island, where he attended public school. At age 10 he a began commuting to Yeshiva Central Queens, an orthodox Jewish school, and at the age of 14 to Yeshiva of Flatbush in Brooklyn. On his first day of high school, he met Livia Selmanowitz, granddaughter of a scholar rabbi who headed a Ger Hassidic group in Brooklyn. In their senior year they began to date and were married in 1964.
Academic and medical career
Straus earned a BA in history in 1964 from Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, and an MD in 1968 from SUNY Downstate Medical Center. He was a medical intern from 1968 to 1969 at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, New York, and from 1969 to 1971 was a research fellow in drug research and development at the National Cancer Institute. At the National Cancer Institute he worked on cancer drug studies in mice which established optimal ways of combining different drugs, and he had a number of publications in cancer research journals.
From 1971 to 1972 he was a medical resident at Barnes Hospital, Washington University, St. Louis. There he devised a combination chemotherapy trial for patients with small-cell lung cancer, an approach that became the basis for many other trials. Between 1972 and 1974, he was a clinical oncology fellow at the National Cancer Institute and head of its Laboratory of Cell Kinetics from which he published numerous papers on the growth and treatment of human cancers. In 1971, he edited the first of three textbooks on lung cancer which for many years were the standard texts.
In 1973 he was recruited as Chief of Oncology and Associate Professor of Medicine at Boston University Medical Center where his clinical and research work focused primarily on breast and lung cancers. From 1978 to 1982 he was Professor of Medicine and Chief of Oncology at New York Medical College and Westchester Medical Center where he continued his clinical and laboratory research work. In all, he published some 100 scientific papers in journals.
From 1982 to 2008, he headed Access Medical Group, a multi-specialty group in the Hudson Valley, New York, which had 36 doctors, and headed the oncology program at a number of suburban hospitals in the area. In 1997 he founded a medical management company which managed 300 doctors in New York state.
He is a fellow of the American College of Physicians.
Allegations in a medical controversy
In June 1978, two nurses and other researchers who worked with him at the Boston University School of Medicine (BUSM) alleged that Straus had ordered them to falsify patients' records, had failed (in violation of law) to get proper consent from patients, and had improperly administered drugs. According to one narrative, the allegations included changing a patient's birth date to make them eligible for inclusion in a study, reporting treatments and laboratory tests that had never been carried out, and Dr. Judith P. Swazey alleged the existence of a tumor in a patient who never had one but she left Boston University because she said school officials were reluctant to investigate the incident and even suggested that support for her department's work might be reduced.
The work in question had been carried out as part of a collaborative study with the Eastern Cooperative Oncology Group (ECOG) within a project funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). Boston University's (BU's) investigation showed that almost 15% of the results were flawed. ECOG erased from their records all data supplied by BUSM, and expelled that research unit from the study.
Straus has denied personal involvement in wrongdoing asserting his innocence and maintains that he has been framed by disgruntled subordinates. Dr Straus said that he had settled with the Government, acknowledging in an agreement to ECOG that false reports were submitted, only after becoming convinced that this legal outcome was unavoidable since the Government's regulations impose these penalties on a principal investigator even when he did not know of any wrongdoing.
On June 30, 1978, Straus resigned from his posts at Boston University Medical Center Hospital (since 1996 part of Boston Medical Center) and BUSM. He subsequently took up posts at the Westchester County Medical Center as Chief of Neoplastic Diseases and the New York Medical College as Professor of Medicine.
Fighting the allegations
On September 15, 1978, Straus requested that BUMC establish a peer review by experts in the area of cooperative cancer data, but BUMC declined. Straus at his request met with the Executive Committee of ECOG April 23, 1979 and requested a full peer review investigation of the records. ECOG rejected the request.
In 1980, NCI awarded Straus a three-year grant of some $910,000 to conduct research into cancer. Hatch Senate Committee, Vincent T. DeVita Jr., Director of the NCI testified on June 2, 1981, "his agencies award last year of a $910,000 research grant to a scientist (Straus) …on the ground that the charges …had not yet been proven.
In 1981, Straus filed a $33 million lawsuit today against five of his former co-workers, charging they had conspired to discredit his work. Straus spoke publicly for the first time before the President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and strongly denied he had engaged in any wrongdoing. Straus alleged forgeries of his signature. Ruth Moran, Straus’ lab chief from 1972 testified, "Having worked side by side with Dr. Straus for 8 years ... the allegations to be totally inconsistent with what I know his scientific standards to be... The (BUMC) committee refused to see me. Dr. Straus’ chief data manager (Mary Jane Rimmer, R.N.) reported to me ... that she had always been instructed by Dr. Straus to record data accurately."
"Scientists Supporting the Rights of Marc J. Straus, M.D." comprised 78 cancer doctors and researchers in 1981, chaired by Mendel Krim, M.D. and Ruth Moran, Ph.D. They petitioned DeVita, Director NCI and Arthur Hayes, Commissioner, FDA, for a unitary blue ribbon review with full disclosure of relevant documents.
In 1982, two years after the grant was awarded the propriety of that award was called into question by two committees of the U.S. Congress: the Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee of the House Science and Technology Committee (chaired by Representative Al Gore (D-Tennessee)), and the Senate Committee on Labor and Human Resources (chaired by Senator Orrin Hatch (R-Utah)). The United States Department of Health and Human Services terminated the grant under Federal regulations passed in 1980, the first time that power had been used. It has been alleged that the committees did not review the records in question.
In 1982 Straus obtained medical privileges at St. Agnes Hospital in White Plains, NY. As a result of the preceding allegations the Board empaneled a review committee chaired by Terence W. Murphy, M.D., J.D. to make a recommendation regarding privileges. Strauss was appointed Chief of Oncology at Yonkers General Hospital and head of a 22 patient cancer unit. In 1985 he was appointed head of oncology at Putnam Hospital Center and head of a cancer unit.
In October 1982, Straus published a paper in Cancer Treatment Reports, a journal funded by the National Cancer Institute. The propriety of that publication was questioned in the journal Science. Dr. Straus continued to publish scientific clinical studies through 1998.
In June 2005 Dr. Straus was invited as a Visiting Lecturer at the National Institutes of Health.
In 1982, Straus started CarePlus, a public company, a home nutrition companies in the United States. In 1983 he founded Medical Registry Services, a software company providing cancer registry software support for hospitals. In 2008 he and his son, Ari, founded MDINR, a software company which supported doctors treating patients with the anti-coagulant,Coumadin, also sold under the brand name Warfarin. It has been alleged that Nikita Khrushchev, Lavrenty Beria and others, engaged in a plot to use Warfarin to poison the Soviet leader, Joseph Stalin. Warfarin is colorless and tasteless, and does often produce symptoms characteristic to those that Stalin is said to have exhibited prior to this death.
Marc and Livia Straus began collecting contemporary art by 1966. Their collection has been featured in The NY Times, Forbes, Harper's Bazaar, Contemporanea, Art & Antiques, and ArtNews. The collection has been listed in Art & Antiques as one of the Top 100 collections in the US.
In 2002 the couple founded the Hudson Valley Center of Contemporary Art, in Peekskill, NY. Its focus is on emerging artists from around the world and supporting an economically challenged area with education programs. In 2011 Marc Straus opened MARC STRAUS, a contemporary art gallery on Grand Street, Manhattan, NYC across the street from where his father's store had been. The gallery represents 18 artists from 11 different counties. In 2014 Flash Art listed MARC STRAUS as among the top 100 galleries in the world.
From 2004 to the present he was chairman of the board of Hudson Valley MOCA From 1994 to 2004. He is said to have been a trustee at Franklin & Marshall College in Lancaster, Pennsylvania
In 1991 Straus took a workshop at the NYC 92nd Street Y with poet Thomas Lux, and the next year received a Yaddo Fellowship in poetry at Yaddo in Saratoga Springs, NY. By now his poems have published in 100 journals including Kenyon Review, Ploughshares, and TriQuarterly. He has three poetry collections published by TriQuarterly Press – Northwestern University Press: ONE WORD (1994), SYMMETRY (2000), NOT GOD (2006), a play in verse . which has been produced on stage at eight different venues including a run at LUNA Stage, NJ in 2009. Marc's poetry has been anthologized many times and he is the recipient of numerous writing prizes including the Robert Penn Warren Award lecture in the Humanities form Yale.
His poetry, which often deals with doctor patient communication and many poems are in the voices of patients or doctors. has been used in the teaching curricula of many medical schools and training programs.
- Straus MJ, Mantel N, Goldin A (1972). "The effect of the sequence of administration of cytoxan and methotrexate on the life-span of L1210 leukemic mice". Cancer Research. 32 (2): 200–7. PMID 5058180.
- Straus MJ, Mantel N, Goldin A (1971). "Effects of priming dose schedules in methotrexate treatment of mouse leukemia L1210". Cancer Research. 31 (10): 1429–33. PMID 5095131.
- Straus MJ, Choi SC, Goldin A (1973). "Increased life-span in AKR leukemia mice treated with prophylactic chemotherapy". Cancer Research. 33 (7): 1724–8. PMID 4721231.
- Straus MJ, Straus SE, Krezoski S, Battiste L (1977). "The uptake, excretion, and radiation hazards of tritiated thymidine in humans". Cancer Research. 37 (2): 610–8. PMID 832281.
- Moran RE, Black MM, Alpert L, Straus MJ (1984). "Correlation of cell-cycle kinetics, hormone receptors, histopathology, and nodal status in human breast cancer". Cancer. 54 (8): 1586–90. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(19841015)54:8<1586::aid-cncr2820540820>3.0.co;2-9. PMID 6478400.
- Straus MJ, Moran RE (1977). "Cell cycle parameters in human solid tumors". Cancer. 40 (4): 1453–61. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(197710)40:4<1453::AID-CNCR2820400416>3.0.CO;2-E. PMID 907963.
- Straus MJ (1979). "New developments in the treatment of advanced lung cancer". The American Review of Respiratory Disease. 120 (5): 967–71. doi:10.1164/arrd.19184.108.40.2067 (inactive September 10, 2020). PMID 228574.
- Straus MJ, Moran RE (1980). "The cell cycle kinetics of human breast cancer". Cancer. 46 (12): 2634–9. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(19801215)46:12<2634::aid-cncr2820461217>3.0.co;2-k. PMID 7448702.
- Straus MJ, Choi SC (1973). "Association of increased height with renovascular hypertension". JAMA. 223 (4): 440–1. doi:10.1001/jama.1973.03220040054022. PMID 4739127.
- Straus MJ (1976). "Combination chemotherapy in advanced lung cancer with increased survival". Cancer. 38 (6): 2232–41. doi:10.1002/1097-0142(197612)38:6<2232::aid-cncr2820380607>3.0.co;2-k. PMID 187314.
- Charrow, Robert P. (July 15, 2010). Law in the Laboratory: A Guide to the Ethics of Federally Funded Science Research. University of Chicago Press. pp. 52–53, 104. ISBN 978-0226101651. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Information, Reed Business (February 18, 1982). "Cancer Institute 'fines' accused scientist". New Scientist: 420. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Altman, Lawrence K. (November 23, 1993). "Her Study Shattered The Myth That Fraud In Science Is a Rarity". New York Times. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- "Cancer research validity is criticized". The Day. July 17, 1980. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- "Doctor Admits Filing False Data and Is Barred from U.S. Support". New York Times. May 20, 1982. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Cotton, Ted (June 2007). "A Statistician Reflects on Fraud in Clinical Research". Clinical Research Times. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Schmaus, Warren (1981). "Fraud and Sloppiness in Science" (PDF). Illinois Institute of Technology. 1 (3–4): 1–4. PMID 11649374. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- "Dr. Marc J. Straus, a cancer researcher barred from…". UPI. May 21, 1982. Retrieved August 22, 2016.
- "Doctor Denies Role in Fraud". New York Times. May 21, 2016. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Hilts, Philip J. (May 20, 1982). "Cancer Researcher Punished in Fraud Case". Washington Post. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Sun, M. (January 21, 1983). "Banned researcher publishes a paper". Science. 219 (4582): 270. Bibcode:1983Sci...219..270S. doi:10.1126/science.11644000. PMID 11644000.
- Times, Robert Reinhold, Special To The New York (June 3, 1981). "HEAD OF CANCER AGENCY DEFENDS AWARD OF GRANT TO ACCUSED SCIENTIST". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- Ap (June 6, 1981). "Researcher Sues 5 For Conspiracy". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- Broad, W. J. (June 19, 1981). "Straus defends himself in Boston". Science. 212 (4501): 1367–1369. Bibcode:1981Sci...212.1367B. doi:10.1126/science.7015514. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 7015514.
- "A Guide to the Archival Collection of The President's Commission for the Study of Ethical Problems in Medicine and in Biomedical and Behavioral Research" (PDF).
- "Dr. Marc J. Straus, a cancer researcher barred from…". Retrieved September 13, 2016.
- Witkowski, Tomasz (January 29, 2015). Psychology Gone Wrong: The Dark Sides of Science and Therapy. Brown Walker Press. p. 62. ISBN 978-1627345286. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Brent, Jonathan; Naumov, Vladimir (2003). Stalin's Last Crime: The Plot Against The Jewish Doctors. Australia; Canada/ New Zealand ; United States: HarperCollins e-books. Retrieved July 3, 2019.
- Zimmer, William: A Private and Passionate Taste for the Contemporary. The New York Times, Sunday August 20, 1989, C26.
- Russell, John: Contemporary Classics at Aldrich. The New York Times, August 4, 1989, C23.
- Facts and Fancy: A Review of The Whitney Biennial. Contemporanea. 2: 6-7/89, 87–89.
- Pollack, Barbara: The Straus Collection. ArtNews, November 1999, p. 144-146.
- Pacheco, Patrick: America's Top 100 Collectors. Art & Antiques, March 1995, p. 106.
- Who's On First. Review of Whitney Biennial. Provincetown Arts. Summer, 1997.
- In the Lineage of Eva Hesse. for catalog – In the Lineage of Eva Hesse: Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art. January- May 1994.
- THE ART MARKET: Flash Art November 2010.
- Straus, Marc J. (October 26, 1994). One Word. Northwestern University Press. ISBN 978-0-8101-5035-5.
- Straus, Marc J. Symmetry. Northwestern University Press. ISBN 978-0-8101-5096-6.
- Straus, Marc J. (May 15, 2006). Not God: A Play in Verse. Northwestern University Press. ISBN 978-0-8101-5169-7.
- Cash, Stephanie (August 8, 2011). "Oncologist/Collector Marc Straus to Open Gallery in LES". Art in America. Retrieved August 20, 2016.
- Russeth, Andrew (July 2, 2012). "Buy This and Call Me in the Morning: Meet Marc Straus, the Art-Collecting Oncologist-Bard Who Just Opened a Gallery Downtown". Observer. Retrieved August 20, 2016.