Costan William Berard, MD, a pathologist who played a major role in developing and refining the staging system for lymphomas, died at age 80 last month in Fripp Island, South Carolina, where he had lived after his retirement.
Information provided by his family notes that he began his higher education at Princeton University, graduating first in his class in 1955. His oratorical skills first led him to consider a career in the law, but he soon chose instead to study medicine at Harvard Medical School. Following an internship at Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, N.Y., he moved his young family to the Washington, D.C. area, where he served at Walter Reed Army Institute of Research.
In 1963, Berard accepted a position at the National Cancer Institute. As Chief of the Hematopathology Section from 1970 to 1980, he established close collaborations with colleagues who revolutionized the treatment of malignant lymphoma and Hodgkin's disease. In addition, he had the foresight to see that advances in modern immunology would alter forever the way in which pathologists would classify malignancies of the immune system.
At the NCI, he assembled a team to pursue translational studies of malignant lymphomas using many advances from the basic sciences. The changes in immunology had an impact on the classification of lymphoma, which was in a state of flux in the 1970s. His close ties with clinicians led him to appreciate the need for a workable and user-friendly classification of malignant lymphomas. As NCI Project Officer, he led the multi-institutional, NCI-funded study that published a working formulation in 1982 (Cancer 1982;49:2112-2135).
Originally intended as a “stopgap measure,” it became the most widely used classification of lymphoma for clinical trials for the next decade.
In 1980 he moved to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, serving as Chairman of the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine until his retirement in 1997.
As hematopathology grew into a subspecialty area in pathology, Berard worked to establish the Society for Hematopathology in 1981 and served as the first president from 1982 to 1984.
He also had leadership roles in the United States and Canadian Academy of Pathology, serving in various capacities including President from 1991 to 1992. In 1998 he was awarded the F.K. Mostofi Distinguished Service Award for outstanding service to the International Academy of Pathology and its United States-Canadian Division.
Berard lectured throughout the world, authored more than 200 articles and book chapters, and served on the editorial boards of seven journals, including two sponsored by the Academy.
Elaine S. Jaffe, MD, Head of the NCI's Hematopathology Section, notes that his successes were shared with and made possible by the dedication and devotion of his wife Susan, who also served as Secretary of the Society for Hematopathology—“Together they put the SH on the international stage.” They were married 51 years at the time of Susan's death in 2009.
Berard is survived by two daughters and one granddaughter.