Geneticist and essayist Axel Kahn died on July 6 at the age of 76 after battling cancer, the League Against Cancer, of which he had recently left the presidency because of his illness. “It is with sadness and emotion that the League against cancer has just learned of the death of Axel Kahn“, said this organization in a brief press release.

He himself announced the fatal outcome of his cancer, which was “worsened recently“in a press release on May 11 and had since regularly shared his serenity in the face of death on his twitter account.

Genetic Disease Specialist

Born September 5, 1944, doctor of medicine and doctor of science Axel Kahn began his career as a biochemist at the Cochin hospital in Paris.

Specialist in genetic diseases, in particular those of the blood (hematological diseases), his work on liver cancer, gene expression or even gene therapy has been the subject of nearly 600 articles in international journals as well as numerous works.

Director of Cochin, President of Descartes

First director of the Cochin Institute from 2002 to 2007, he was then elected head of Paris Descartes University from 2007 to 2011. In March 2020, after the scandal caused by the indecent conditions of conservation of bodies donated to the science at the Paris-Descartes Donation Center, France Inter had assured that Professor Kahn had been made aware of these serious problems when he was president of the university.

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He had contested these assertions and always defended himself to have been alerted, before the end of his mandate, on the management of bodies in this center. Certain plaintiffs, in particular gathered within the Charnier Descartes-Justice Dignité association (CDJD), considered however that he was one of those who had not acted sufficiently.

Cancer and covid

Axel Kahn had also chaired the Biomolecular Engineering Commission and was a member of the National Consultative Ethics Committee for 12 years.

Since 2019, he has volunteered to chair the League against cancer. As such, he had often intervened in the media since the start of the covid health crisis, in particular to alert people to the situation of people with cancer during a pandemic.