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Beatrice Mintz Dies

Beatrice Mintz, who developed transgenic mouse models of cancer and more during her career, has died, according to the American Association for Cancer Research. She was 100.

Mintz urged other researchers to ask big questions — "the bigger, the better," she said during an award dinner in 2011 when she was awarded the sixth Szent-Gyorgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research, "because they will continue to open previously closed doors." 

Jonathan Chernoff from Fox Chase Cancer Center, where Mintz worked for 60 years, writes at the Cancer Letter that she tackled three big questions herself: how does a single fertilized egg become a complex organism, how do stem cells contribute to cancer, and does the tumor microenvironment affect cancer growth? This work, he adds, led to a number of key findings, including that cancer could develop from a single developmentally arrested stem cell and that the tumor microenvironment influences that development, as well as to the establishment of mouse models of cancer.

"Dr. Mintz was a brilliant scientist whose trailblazing work established clonal regulation as one of cancer's fundamental units of development," Margaret Foti, the CEO of the AACR, says in a statement. "She made foundational discoveries and revolutionized many tools and techniques of molecular biology that paved the way for tremendous progress in our understanding of cancer."