In memory of Professor Rolf Neth October 6, 1926 – March 17, 2020
Boris Fehse, Nicolaus Kröger, Carol Stocking, Axel Zander
Accepted 26 June 2020
With great sadness, we learned of the passing of Professor Dr. med. Rolf-Dietmar Neth, the founder of the Wilsede meeting, on March 17, 2020, aged 93 in his home town Buchholz near Wilsede/Lüneburger Heide. Rolf Neth was born 6.10.1926. After the 2nd World War, Rolf Neth studied Medicine from 1949 to 1955 at the University of Göttingen. Then he was at the Max-Planck-Institut für Experimentelle Medizin (University Göttingen, 1956-1957), and promoted his skills in clinical and experimental hematology in St. George Hospital (1958-1959) in Hamburg.
From 1960, his activity was connected with the pediatric clinics of Hamburg University where he became a Professor at the Children Hospital in 1972. From 1970 to 1980, Rolf Neth was occupied implementing new laboratory diagnostic approaches in the booming field of clinical hematology. Blood cancer treatment was developed, due to novel drugs invented to combat leukemic cells and rescue the small patients which 10-20 years ago had only zero chance to survive. Histo- and immunochemical diagnostics became routine tests for evaluation of clinical forms of leukemias and efficiency of their therapy. Since 1982, he coordinated laboratory hematology at the Department of Clinical Chemistry, University Hamburg, until retirement in 1992.
Along with contribution to clinical laboratory science, Professor Neth, over 1973 to 2002, arranged a series of famous Wilsede Meetings "Modern Trends in Human Leukemia" dedicated to leukemia research and treatment. Rolf Neth and Robert Gallo decided time and topic of the meeting, and Rolf Neth proposed a place, i.e., a lonely village in the Luneburg heath, not far from his home. Hence, Leukemia and Viruses was selected as a specific topic for a meeting in Germany, because it was timely for convergence between clinical medicine and cancer biology.
Rolf Neth organized the first Wilsede meetings himself for more than 20 years, until he passed these efforts to Wolfram Ostertag and Axel Zander. In the late 1990s, Carol Stocking and Boris Fehse took on this responsibility. Over last years, Wilsede meetings were arranged by Nicolaus Kröger and Boris Fehse. And as long as his health permitted, Rolf Neth came along to see how his baby was doing. He participated and assisted at any stage of the next meeting. We are thankful to have had the privilege of knowing and cooperating with Rolf Neth and to cherish his legacy by keeping the Wilsede tradition alive. He was married with Hanne-Lore Cohrs, 8.11. 1958, survived by his wife of 62 years Hanne-Lore, and four sons and several grandchildren.
- R. Neth, G. Schwarting. Das Verhalten der Koronarsklerose in der Nachkriegszeit. Dtsch.med.Wschr. 80,570-573 (1955).
- R. Neth. Die diagnostische Bedeutung cyto- und mikrochemischer Eisenstoffwechseluntersuchungen" Klin.Wschr. 44, 687-695 (1966).
- R. Neth. Catalysis of Peptidyl Transfer by human tonsil ribosomes and effects of some antibiotics. FEBS Letters 8, 198-202 (1970).
- R.D. Neth. Blutbild und Urinstatus. Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg GmbH 1979.
- Modern Trends in Human Leukemia I Gruner + Stratton, J.F.Lehmannverlag 1974, II-IX 1976-1992, Springerverlag in science-connections.com
- Hanne-Lore Neth. "Heidepastor" Wilhelm Bode. Hämatol. Bluttransf. Vol 35.
Accepted 26 June 2020