HOUSTON (CBSDFW.COM/CNN) — A cancer biologist in Texas, who saved countless lives, has now lost his own to COVID-19. Doctor Emil J. Freireich revolutionized the treatment of children with leukemia.

Freireich was a doctor at the MD Anderson Cancer Center for 50 years, but, even after retiring, he never lost his passion for helping and mentoring.

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While at the medical facility in Houston, Freireich helped introduce the idea of treating childhood leukemia with combination chemotherapy, in which cancer drugs are given simultaneously rather than individually.

(credit: mdanderson.org)

After discovering that leukemia patients were often bleeding to death because they had insufficient platelets, Dr. Freireich developed and patented the first continuous-flow blood cell separator.

His daughter, Lindsay Freireich, said, “Out of all the oncologists in the world, he decided to use his own plasma and combine chemotherapies so that children’s leukemia went from 100% death to 97% life.”

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Dr. Freireich, who received numerous awards and prizes for his research, contributed to more than 600 scientific papers and more than 100 books.

His life ended where so many of his discoveries were made, Dr. Emil J. Freireich passed away at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, he was 93 years old.

(© Copyright 2021 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The CNN Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a Time Warner Company contributed to this report.)

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