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BiographySpeakingJUAN A. DEL REGATO, M.D.
1909 – 1999

Juan Angel del Regato was one of the most revered physicians in the history of American radiotherapy.  He was born, raised, and educated in Cuba, and undertook the study of medicine at the University of Havana from 1926 to 1930.  When the University was closed due to political controversy in 1930, he continued his studies at the University of Paris.  He received his medical degree in 1937 with a medal-winning thesis on the successful radiotherapy of inoperable cancers of the maxillary antrum.  Following a two year course, he received the Diploma of Radiophysiology and Radiotherapy of the University of Paris.  It was during this time he served as an assistant at the Radium Institute of Paris where he came to know Coutard, Regaud, Marie Curie, Lacassagne, and other founders in the field of radiation therapy.  Early in 1937 del Regato came to the United States bringing with him the Paris tradition of specialization at a time when there were only a handful of American Physicians who practiced radiation therapy exclusively.  He served as a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute, Director of Radiotherapy at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia, Missouri, and Director of the Penrose Cancer Hospital in Colorado Springs from 1949-1974.  He then became Professor of Radiology at the University of South Florida, Tampa and Emeritus Professor of Radiology in 1981 and a distinguished physician of the Veterans Administration.

Dr. del Regato is recognized as a historian in the field, writing about oncologists and medical physicists, chronicling their contributions to the discipline, as if he were an intimate, but objective friend of each ~ which, in fact, he was.

He founded the American Club of Therapeutic Radiologists in 1958, a club with 54 initial members.  This club of radiotherapists met periodically and grew in number to become the America Society of Therapeutic Radiologists and ultimately to the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO).

Dr. del Regato received numerous honors and awards throughout his professional career including gold medals from the Radiologic Society of North America (1966), the American College of Radiology (1968), the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (1977), as well as the American Medical Association Scientific Achievement Award (1993).

Unique in the field, del Regato was noted for clinical, technical, scholarly, and organizational achievements.  In the clinic his active involvement and interest in developing delivery systems led to the development of the del Regato localizer, the first light localizer to be used.  He coauthored the book Cancer along with Lauren Ackerman, the leading oncology text of the time.

Dr. del Regato’s greatest and most long lasting contribution to the field was his ongoing dedication to training young radiation oncologists.  He was the first to establish a training program in radiation oncology and trained a first generation of radiation oncologists recognized today as leaders in our field including Drs. Frank Wilson, Jim Cox, Larry Kun, and many others.  The fondness that these radiation oncologists had for their “Chief” is reflected by their support for the activities of the del Regato Fund, organized to further education and academic achievement of the field.  Dr. del Regato will always be remembered as a pioneer in radiation oncology, an active and vital contributor to the field.

Curriculum Vitae

Autobiographical Essay (pdf format ready to download)

New York Times Obituary

To find out more about Juan A. del Regato see biographies in the Publications page.

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