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William Wolff Dies

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William Wolff, who co-developed the modern colonoscopy with a colleague and forever changed the way colon cancer was diagnosed, has died, reports The New York Times' Douglas Martin. He was 94. In the 1960s, Wolff — like many other scientists — was trying to develop ways to probe the full length of the colon. Working with Beth Israel Medical Center's Hiromi Shinya, Wolff developed a device that could remove a polyp immediately during a colonoscopy, instead of necessitating a second doctor and procedure to remove the growths, Martin says. "Their protocol — using one doctor for the procedure instead of two, for example — became the universal standard, and articles they published about their thousands of successes confirmed the safety and efficacy of colonoscopies," he says, adding that the procedure, though uncomfortable and usually dreaded by patients, can eliminate more than 60 percent of large intestine growths.

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