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John Kanzius, cancer researcher and part-time Sanibel resident, dies

By Staff | Feb 19, 2009

John Kanzius, who had no medical background but invented a device that kills cancer cells, has died at age 64.

Kanzius died Wednesday at a hospital in Florida, where he had a winter home. The cause of death was from pneumonia, a complication from two rounds of chemotherapy he had recently undergone, an Erie-Times News article reported.

He had been diagnosed in 2002 with a rare form of b-cell leukemia.

Kanzius used to be a partner at Erie’s Jet Broadcasting Co. He invented a device that uses heat from radio waves to kill cancer cells without harming other cells.

He created the device while suffering from insomnia brought on by chemotherapy.

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston continue experiments with Kanzius’ device. Kanzius said in December that publications detailing the center’s research with the use of the device on animals are expected in the coming months.

From the Erie-Times News article:

“Our entire lab is shocked and mourning,” said Steven Curley, M.D., principal investigator for the Kanzius project at M.D. Anderson. “This is an inestimable loss to all of us who loved John.”

Kanzius’ survivors include his wife, Marianne; two daughters, Sherry Kanzius and Toni Palmer; and two grandchildren.

On the Web: http://www.kanziuscancerresearch.com/