American Association for Clinical Chemistry
Better health through laboratory medicine
Herbert A. Fritsche, PhD
2006 The Morton K. Schwartz Award for Significant Contributions in Cancer Research Diagnostics

Dr. Fritsche has served as chief of clinical chemistry at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston for the past 37 years. He has served in all elected positions in the AACC’s Texas Section and chaired the national Education Committee and the Education Committee of the Immunology Division.

He has served as president of the Clinical Ligand Assay Society and is a member of the editorial board of six journals.

He has lectured at many international meetings and has published more than 150 papers and 30 book chapters in the field of cancer diagnostics.

He is a member of the scientific advisory boards of six companies; holds four patents and two patent applications; is co-author of a recent textbook, Tumor Markers; and is the meeting director of a biennial conference on cancer diagnostics sponsored by M. D. Anderson. He has been active in the field of cancer diagnostics since 1969.

He was one of the early proponents of the direct serum assay for carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) for breast cancer monitoring. He was one of the first to develop immunonephelometric assays for serum immunoglobulins and to apply the beta-2 microglobulin assay for multiple myeloma, to implement the serum lactate dehydrogenase-1 assay as a complement to alpha-fetoprotein and human chorionic gonadotropin for monitoring patients with germ cell tumors, and to use serum prostate specific antigen for the early detection and clinical management of prostate cancer.

Recently, he helped to develop the assay for the circulating tumor cell and established its utility as a prognostic marker for patients with metastatic breast cancer. Dr. Fritsche participated in the clinical trials leading to Food and Drug Administration clearance of all of the serum tumor marker tests currently in use. His current work focuses on the role of circulating DNA as a tumor marker.

1992 Outstanding Contributions in Education

Herbert A. Fritsche, Jr., will receive the 22nd AACC Award for Outstanding Contributions in Education. The award is sponsored by SmithKline Beecham Clinical Laboratories.

Dr. Fritsche, a native of Houston, TX, received his undergraduate training at the University of Houston in 1963 and earned M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Texas A&M University in 1956 and 1968, respectively. He rose to the rank of captain in the U.S. Army in 1968 and served in the Medical Service Corps as Assistant Chief of the Chemistry Division of the First U.S. Army Medical Laboratory in Fort Meade, MD. Under the direction of Col. Robert G. Trahan and with the encouragement of Col. Ed Knoblock, Dr. Fritsche decided to make clinical chemistry his profession.

Dr. Fritsche began his academic career at the University of Texas System Cancer Center at the M.D. Anderson Hospital in 1969 and has remained there for 23 years. He has served as Chief of the Clinical Chemistry Laboratory. Since 1973 he has been a full member of the graduate faculty of the University of Texas Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences. He has also been a member of the faculty of the School of Allied Health Sciences since it was founded in 1978.

Dr. Fritsche’s research interests are cancer diagnostics and laboratory medicine. To date he has published 52 peer-reviewed papers, 9 invited papers, 18 book chapters, and 6 teaching aids for professional continuing education. He has published 50 abstracts of scientific paper presentations and has also lectured extensively on cancer diagnosis and clinical chemistry at national and international meetings.

As an educator, Dr. Fritsche has served as a lecturer and course director for various courses in clinical chemistry, tumor biology, and pathology in the graduate, medical, and dental schools at the Texas Medical Center in Houston. He has chaired and served on students’ supervisory and advisory committees for graduate-level work. He has also supervised training in clinical chemistry for clinical pathology students and postdoctoral fellows.

An AACC member since 1968, Dr. Fritsche has served on numerous committees at the international, national, and local section levels. He was a noted member and chair of the National Committee on Education for 6 years and chaired the educational activities for the Clinical Diagnostic and Immunology Division, also for 6 years. He has served as a member of the Arnold O. Beckman Conference Committee.

In addition, Dr. Fritsche has served on the organizing and program committees for a number of national and international meetings, as a member of site-review committees for the National Institutes of Health and the National Cancer Institute, as a grant reviewer for the New Jersey Cancer Commission, and as a manuscript reviewer for Clinical Chemistry, Tumor Biology, Diagnostic Oncology, Cancer Research, and Cancer. He is a member of the editorial boards of Tumor Biology and Diagnostic Oncology.

Dr. Fritsche’s awards include an Army Commendation Medal for meritorious service, the Texas Section AACC Outstanding Clinical Chemist Award for 1979, the AACC Presidential Award for 1981, and the AACC Outstanding Speaker Award for 1991.