Biotech pioneer Dr. Arthur Riggs dies at 82

Arthur Riggs, PhD, a pioneering biochemist whose work led to the development of artificial insulin and monoclonal antibodies, died March 23 at age 81, according to The New York Times.

Dr. Riggs spent most of his career at Duarte, Calif.-based City of Hope National Medical Center and is regarded as one of the biotechnology field's founding fathers. In the mid-'70s, Dr. Riggs left the medical center to work at Genentech, then a start-up, where he and colleagues used recombinant DNA technology to produce artificial insulin for human use. 

Dr. Riggs returned to City of Hope in 1984 and later discovered a way to use recombinant DNA technology to trigger bacteria to produce proteins that act as human antibodies. The development set the groundwork for monoclonal antibodies now used to treat cancer and other serious diseases. 

"When I sit back and think about it, I just continue to be amazed at what the field has done in general and that I've been able to be part of it. It's absolutely incredible," Dr. Riggs said in a 2013 interview with City of Hope.

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