Rappaport, Henry (1913–2003)
KeywordsMalignant Lymphoma Reticulum Cell Hematopoietic System Morphological Classification Main Achievement
Date, Country and City of Birth
March 12, 1913, Lemberg, Austria
Date, City of Death
May 19, 2003, Los Angeles, USA
History of Life
Henry Rappaport was born in 1913 in Lemberg, the capital of the province of Galicia, (now Austria). His family moved to Vienna when he was a child. He matriculated at the Real Gymnasium in Vienna and subsequently, in 1931, at the Medical School of the University of Vienna. He graduated as a MD in 1937 and started to work at the Wiener Krankenhaus. After the “Anschluss” of Austria to Nazi Germany, he lost his position. In 2000, he writes for The Austrian Heritage Collection (studying Austrian–Jewish immigrants to the USA), about this time: “I lost my position at the Wiener Krankenhaus. I spent all my time and effort to secure a visa to another country but without success. My fiancée Dina Braude and her brother, born in Russia, were refused visas by the Russian consulate. Dina was expelled by the University of Vienna, where she was a fourth year medical student. We were not (as Jews) physically persecuted. We fled on August 1938 by crossing the border near Basel.”
After 1 month in Zurich, he went to Montpellier, France where “I had no professional opportunities.” He stayed there until his emigration to the USA where he arrived February 18, 1940. In January 1943, he joined the US Army Forces as Medical Corps Officer and was discharged as Major in 1946. From then on, he pursued an academic and research career. He later describes as his most distinguished positions; (Head of the Reticulo-endothelial pathology and hematology section of the) Armed Forced Institute of Pathology in Washington DC (1948–1954), (professor of pathology at the) University of Chicago (1961–1974) and (pathologist at the) City of Hope National Medical Center in Duarte, CA (1974–1996).
Dr. Henry Rappaport is author of Tumors of the Hematopoietic System (1966) and is mentioned in the Encyclopaedia Judaica. He died at the age of 90 years in Los Angeles.
Main Achievements to Medicine/Pathology
Rappaport is known for his “Rappaport Classification,” the first clinically significant lymphoma classification system, which he established in the mid-1950s. In 1956, he described the prognostic distinction between nodular and diffuse lymphomas, a relevant finding at that time, because it demonstrated that lymphomas with a nodular cell pattern were less aggressive than those of the same cytologic subtype with a diffuse pattern. His work accumulates in 1966 in his AFIP fascicle on Tumors of the Hematopoietic System. Rappaport’s further morphological distinction of malignant lymphomas in lymphocytic type (well differentiated and poorly differentiated), reticulum cell type, and mixed lymphocytic/reticulum cell type, formed the basis of his classification.
However, in the late 1960s, a period of increasing immunological knowledge, he lost the connection with new immunohistological techniques in identifying the cell types of lymphomas.
Lukes and Collins in the USA, and Lennert and his group in Kiel, Germany, did not. Their functional classifications of malignant lymphomas made Rappaport’s strictly morphological classification obsolete and are still at the base of current lymphoma classifications.
References and Further Reading
- Rappaport, H. (1966). Tumors of the hematopoietic system, Fascicle 8 (1st ed.). Washington, DC: Armed Forces Institute of Pathology.Google Scholar