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John Mendelsohn Dies

John Mendelsohn, who served University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center president from 1996 until 2011, has died, the New York Times reports. He was 82.

Prior to joining MD Anderson, Mendelsohn was a researcher at University of California, San Diego, where he developed the targeted cancer therapy cetuximab, the Times adds, noting that Eli Lilly now sells it as Erbitux to treat colorectal, head, and neck cancers. Mendelsohn also became the founding director of the UCSD medical school's cancer center, before then moving to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, according to the Times.

Mendelsohn joined MD Anderson in 1996 as its president, a time when, current president Peter Pisters tells the Times, the center was smaller and less well known, but that Mendelsohn saw its potential to grow.

Times notes that Mendelsohn was caught up in a few scandals during his career, including the ImClone and Enron scandals, though it adds Mendelsohn was not accused of wrongdoing in either. Additionally, in 2002, the Washington Post reported that patients at MD Anderson taking part in a trial investigating Erbitux weren't told that the president of the center had a financial stake in its success, which the Times says led the center to change its policies.