Tribute to Dr. Endre A. Balazs. 1920-2015 by Ladislas Robert
Nous venons d’apprendre le décès du Prof. Endre A. (Bandi) Balazs dans sa 95ème année communiqué par sa femme, le Dr. Janet (Jenti) L. Denlinger. Le Dr. Balazs était un des grands pionniers de la recherche sur la matrice intercellulaire (the « biomatrix »), nouvelle désignation qu’il a proposée pour la recherche sur les tissus conjonctifs. Eminent spécialiste de la biochimie de l’hyaluronane, inventeur de ses applications en médecine régénérative, puis esthétique, fondateur puis directeur d’un centre industriel produisant l’hyaluronane utilisé largement en ophtalmologie et en rhumatologie, même pour le traitement de l’arthrose du genou des chevaux de courses. Pour plus de détails, nous reproduisons ici avec la permission du Dr. J. Denlinger le texte de l’hommage de la Fondation Endre Balazs aux USA. Nous présentons une courte bibliographie des livres édités par le Prof. Balazs qui ont beaucoup contribué à l’épanouissement de sa discipline.
A ses qualités scientifiques, le Prof. Balazs ajoutait des qualités humaines remarquables. Homme de culture il savait charmer ses hôtes par une conversation variée, étendue, beaucoup de simplicité. Il manquera beaucoup à la communauté scientifique et à tous ses amis.
Voici une liste restreinte des publications de l’Institut du Dr. Balazs essentiellement des livres écrits et publiés par lui et quelques articles :
- 1. Balazs EA, Denlinger JL. Vitreous and joint-comparative morphology and biochemistry. Atti Della Fondazione Giorgio Ronchi, 1979, XXXIV, (6), 637-6474
- 2. Denlinger JL. Metabolism of sodium hyaluronan in articular and ocular tissues. Doctoral thesis presented at the Université des Sciences et Techniques, Lille, France. 327 pages. Available (English version) online from the Matrix Biology Institute and Amazon.com
- 3. Balazs EA, Denlinger JL Viscosupplementation. A new concept in the treatment of osteoarthritis.1993, J.Rheumatol,
- 4. Endre A. Balazs General Editor . Hyaluronan. From Basic Science to Clinical Applications.Volume 2: History of Hyaluronan Science. Endre A. Balazs, Istvan Hargittai, Magdolna Hargittai Eds . PubMatrix Edgewater, New Jersey, 2011
- 5. Endre A. Balazs General Ed. Hyaluronan. From Basic Science to Clinical Applications. Conversations with Hyaluronan Scientists. Hargittai and Istvan Hargittai Eds. Vol 1 PubMatrix Edgewater, New Jersey, 2000
- 6. Endre A. Balazs General Editor . Hyaluronan. From Basic Science to Clinical Applications. More Conversations with Hyaluronan Scientists . Magdolna Hargittai and Istvan Hargittai Eds . Vol. 3, Edgewater, New Jersey, 2011
- 7. Endre A. Balazs General Editor , Volume 4. Hyaluronan. From Basic Science to Clinical Applications. Tivadar Huzella Scientist and Humanitarian. Magdolna Hargittai and Istvan Hargittai Eds Matrix Biology Institute, Edgewater, New Jersey, 2012
- 8. Endre A. Balazs General Editor . Hyaluronan. From Basic Science to Clinical Applications. 5. Structure and Function of Biomatrix. Control of Cell Behavior and Gene Expression. Matrix Biology Institute, Edgewater, New Jersey, 2012
- 9. George E. Intra-articular hyaluronan treatment for osteoarthritis. Ann Rhum Dis 1998; 57: 637-640
- 10. Robert L Hyaluronan, a truly “youthful” polysaccharide. Its medical applications. Pathol Biol 2015; 63: 32-34
Text from the EA Balazs Foundation
Endre A. Balazs, MD has distinguished himself through pioneering research on the structure and biological activity of hyaluronan, a viscoelastic polysaccharide present in all tissues of the human body, but in larger amounts in the vitreus of the eye and in the soft tissues of joints and skin.
As the world’s leading expert for over 50 years on this important macromolecule, his work has encompassed numerous pioneering discoveries. These contributions include extracting and purifying the molecule itself, a medical product that has made intraocular surgeries almost routine and benefited countless eye surgery patients, and a cross-linking technique that ties together hyaluronan strands.
Dr. Balazs received his medical degree from the University of Budapest in 1942. He launched his research career at the Department of Histology and Embryology of the university. In 1947 he continued his research at the Department of Experimental Histology of the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm. In 1951, at the invitation of Harvard Medical School, he moved to Boston to set up the research laboratories and organize the Retina Foundation and later became its President. He was co-founder of the Boston Biomedical Research Institute where he worked from 1968-1975. Dr. Balazs moved to New York and continued his research and teaching at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital as Director of Ophthalmic Research. He is currently the Malcolm P. Aldrich Research Professor Emeritus.
In 1968, Dr. Balazs founded Biotrics Inc. to develop methods to produce and apply hyaluronan for medical purposes. In 1981, he co-founded Biomatrix Inc. with Dr. Janet Denlinger. As the company’s Chief Executive Officer and Chief Science Officer, he established a strong research and development program that focused on modifying hyaluronan, work that led to important therapeutic applications, including a viscoelastic supplement for arthritic joints. After Dr. Balazs sold Biomatrix in 2000, he continued his research and development work on hyaluronan at the Matrix Biology Institute that he and Dr. Denlinger founded as a charitable medical research foundation.
At his initiative in 1962 the first international eye research journal, Experimental Eye Research (Academic Press) was founded with him as Editor-in-Chief until 1991. He also initiated and co-founded the International Society for Eye Research (1974) and was its General Secretary and later President. In 1986, the International Society for Eye Research established the Endre A. Balazs Prize and named him Honorary President of the Society. Recently, he founded the International Society of Hyaluronan Sciences.
Dr. Balazs received many honors for his research/development and organizational work. He was a recipient of the Friedenwald Award from the Association for Research in Ophthalmology (1963); the Cornelius D. Binkhorst Medal from The American Academy of Ophthalmology (1986); Ellis Island Medal of Honor, NY (2004); In 2005 he was awarded the George Washington Award of the American Hungarian Foundation, which honours persons whose eminent contributions are in the broad field of human knowledge, the arts, commerce, industry, the sciences, and understanding men among men and nations; Distinguished Alumni Award from the Schepens Eye Research Institute (2008); Ophthalmology Hall of Fame by the American Society of Cataract and Refractive Surgery (2009); He became an external member of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in the Section of Chemistry in 2010; Helen Keller Prize for Vision Research (2011); and in 2012, the New Jersey Inventors Hall of Fame recognized him for “Lifetime patent and technology achievement related to eye and orthopedic research and groundbreaking discoveries in utilizing hyaluronan for therapeutic purposes”.