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A great visionary leaves the lymphoma community: Bertrand Coiffier dies aged 71

Jan 8, 2019

Professor Bertrand Coiffier died on January 2 2019 at the age of 71. An exceptional clinician and researcher in the field of lymphoma, throughout his life, he has been globally recognized and awarded for his numerous contributions to lymphoma therapy.

Professor Coiffier obtained his Doctor of Medicine and Doctor of Philosophy at the University of Lyon, France, where he also became certified in Hematology and Medical Oncology before he became a Professor of Hematology in 1989.

During the course of his remarkable career, Bertrand Coiffier remained Professor of Hematology at the Department of Hematology, Hospices Civils de Lyonand the University Claude Bernard, Lyon, France where he retired in September 2016. Professor Coiffier was a member of several international societies, including the American Society of Hematology, the American Society of Clinical Oncology, the International Society for Medical Oncology, the European Haematology Association, and the European Society for Medical Oncology.

In 1984, Professor Coiffier became a founding member and President (since 2006) of the Groupe d’Etude des Lymphomes de l’Adulte (GELA), which included clinicians, pathologists, and biologists from France, Belgium, Luxemburg, and Switzerland with the aim of advancing basic and clinical research in lymphoma in adults. In 2012, GELA fused with GOELAMS (French Acute Leukaemia and Blood Diseases West-East Group) to become LYSA (Lymphoma Study Association)which is now known as one of the world’s most prestigious and influential lymphoma study groups.

Professor Coiffier’s special interest has always been to improve treatment outcomes in aggressive lymphoma. He initiated studies to highlight the benefits of the ACVBP (adriamycin-cyclophosphamide-vindesine-bleomycin-prednisone) regimen in aggressive lymphomas. Professor Coiffier was the first to describe the synergy of the anti-CD20 antibody rituximab with the CHOP (cyclophosphamide-doxorubicin-vincristine-prednisone) regimen in diffuse large cell lymphoma in a landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 1. Furthermore, he played an instrumental role in many drug approvals worldwide, helping to establish novel treatment options for patients with lymphoma and has published over 400 papers in peer-reviewed journals.

Professor Coiffier had recently created the European Lymphoma Institute (ELI)as a working party in Europe for lymphoproliferative disorders where he also held the position of president. Additionally, he previously worked as a Lymphoma Medical Representative of the Working Committee of the Lymphoma Coalition, board member of Healthology Inc, former editor of the Journal Leukemia Researchand the Journal of Clinical Oncology, as well as the founding chair of the Lymphoma Hub. In Lugano 2008, Professor Coiffier was awarded the Kaplan Lecture and San Salvatore Prize, and was also the winner of the 2011 John Ultmann Award in New York for outstanding contributions to the treatment of lymphoma.

  1. Coiffier, B. et al. CHOP chemotherapy plus rituximab compared with CHOP alone in elderly patients with diffuse large-B-cell lymphoma. N Engl J Med. 2002 Jan 24; 346:235–242. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa011795
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