Tribute to Sol Sherry
Sol Sherry was a model academic physician, teacher, and colleague, whose candor and honesty set standards for us all. His scientific career spanned 70 years and his contributions to scientific research on thrombosis and thrombolysis and subsequent clinical application has earned him the title "Father" of thrombolytic therapy. Dr. Sherry's immense achievements -- particularly the introduction of streptokinase into clinical practice for the treatment of thrombotic disorders such as deep vein thrombosis, pulmonary embolism and acute myocardial infarction -- have saved many lives and improved the quality of life for patients at risk for thrombotic disorders.
Born in New York City in 1916, Dr. Sol Sherry received his AB, MD, house staff training, research training, and first faculty position from New York University. His early research was in the laboratory of Dr. Elaine Ralli on the physiology and metabolism of vitamin C. Following a distinguished service in WWII as a flight surgeon and head of the US Army's Eastern European Typhus Control mission, he returned to research at NYU with Dr. William S. Tillet who was investigating the therapeutic potential of streptococcal enzymes. He published, with Dr. Tillett, a description of the first therapeutic use of streptokinase to dissolve fibrinous pleural effusions.
Dr. Sherry's career then moved to the University of Cincinnati where he was Director of the May Institute of Medical Research. He and his colleagues studied clotting and fibrinolytic enzyme systems. He pioneered the use of synthetic substrates to assay plasmin and thrombin and the use of plasminogen activators to dissolve intravascular thrombi in dogs. Dr. Sherry then moved to St. Louis where he was Director of Medicine at Jewish Hospital. He led research there establishing the safety and efficacy of clot dissolution in thrombotic disease.
In 1954, Dr. Sherry joined the faculty of Washington University in St. Louis. It was here, with Drs. Norman Alkjaersig and Anthony Fletcher, that he launched a brilliant series of investigations that validated the distinction of fibrinolysis from fibrinogenolysis and the concept of anticoagulant properties of fibrinogen degradation products. In clinical research, Dr. Sherry introduced the use of epsilon aminocaproic acid (EACA) for treatment of hemorrhagic states secondary to excessive thrombolysis, urokinase for treatment of pulmonary embolism and venous thrombosis, and in 1960 recommended that thrombolytic therapy be used for coronary heart disease. During this time, he trained many of the leaders in the field of thrombosis and hemostasis, including Drs. Fedor Bachmann, Ed Genton, Michael Mosesson, and Jack Hirsh.
From 1968-1984, at Temple University School of Medicine, Dr. Sherry served as Chairman of the Department of Medicine where he organized a superb residency program. In 1970 he founded the Thrombosis Research Center, which now bears his name, and recruited a cadre of outstanding researchers, including Drs. Victor Marder, Holm Holmsen, Peter N. Walsh, Stefan Niewiarowski, and Andrei Budzynski. He also organized the Urokinase Pulmonary Embolism Trials. Lastly, we should not forget Dr. Sherry’s role as a founder of the Council on Thrombosis of the American Heart Association as well as founder of the International Society of Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH). The ISTH established a named lectureship in Dr. Sherry's honor for his immense achievements in the field of thrombosis and thrombolysis .