Obituaries

Nikolai Pavlovich Napalkov

BMJ 2008; 336 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.39569.692512.BE (Published 08 May 2008) Cite this as: BMJ 2008;336:1076
  1. Boleslav Lichterman

    Leading experimental oncologist and WHO expert

    Nikolai Pavlovich Napalkov was director of the N N Petrov Institute of Oncology in Leningrad (now St Petersburg) and assistant director general of the World Health Organization (WHO). He published extensively on experimental oncology, oncomorphology, the statistics and epidemiology of malignancies, and the fight against cancer and other chronic non-infectious diseases in developing countries.

    Napalkov was born in Leningrad. His grandfather, Nikolai Ivanovich Napalkov, and his father, Pavel Nikolaevich Napalkov, were both professors of surgery and leading Soviet surgeons. As a medical student in Leningrad, Napalkov became interested in morphology and started research under Dmitry Zhdanov, professor of anatomy, as well as training in pathology. On graduation he entered the aspirantura (a three year postgraduate research programme) at the laboratory of experimental oncology in the Institute of Oncology in Leningrad (now the N N Petrov Institute of Oncology), which was headed by Leon Shabad, one of the founders of experimental oncology and cancer prophylaxis.

    Napalkov’s kandidatskaya dissertation (the Russian equivalent of a PhD thesis) dealt with experimental tumours of the thyroid gland. Noticing that thyroid epithelial cells were histologically and genetically heterogeneous, he proposed a new morphological classification for experimental tumours of the gland. He …

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