Jack. S. Remington, MD, a clinical scientist at Stanford University who developed a test to identify babies at risk for dangerous toxoplasmosis, died April 8 at age 90.
Remington was Professor Emeritus of Infectious Diseases at Stanford Medicine. Legendary researcher Remington was described by colleagues and apprentices as a stubborn clinician. Known as “Stat Jack” for his sense of urgency, he retired in 2005.
He died after a fall; he was the last of many. When not treating patients or conducting research, Remington used to climb rock. Friends said he had broken a lot of bones, but he was always a passionate climber.
Remington retired when Upinder Singh, MD, came to Stanford. He is now head of Infectious Diseases and Geographic Medicine at Stanford Medicine. Singh said Medscape Medicdal News that Remington was a brilliant and advanced scientist.
Remington conducted research at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF), which is part of the Sutter Health network. He ran a toxoplasmosis serology lab and it was his baby, Singh said. In 2019 the name was changed to him: Specialized diagnostic laboratory of Dr. Jack S. Remington.
While doing research at PAMF, he treated patients at Stanford, where he could see that his research benefited them.
“What was closest to his heart was that scientific efforts had to help patients,” Singh told Medscape.
Born in Chicago in 1931, Remington did his undergraduate work at Loyola University in Chicago and the University of Illinois, where he graduated from medical school in 1956, according to a Stanford statement. He spent two years as a senior assistant surgeon in the U.S. Public Health Service and as a researcher at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases.
There, he conducted key research on Toxoplasma gondii, a generally latent parasite that poses a serious risk to anyone with a compromised immune system, a group that includes infants, transplant recipients, and people with HIV. T gondii it is the reason why pregnant women are told not to clean the rubbish bins as they can spread through the feces of cats. Humans also contract toxoplasmosis by eating contaminated meat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 300 to 4000 babies are exposed each year and develop toxoplasmosis. Often asymptomatic over a period of time, children may develop vision problems or developmental delays.
Remington developed a blood test that measures a baby’s exposure and therefore the risk of toxoplasmosis. According to Stanford’s announcement, “the test distinguished between antibodies that a newborn has passively acquired from its mother through the placental barrier and antibodies that indicate that a baby has been infected in the womb by pathogens, especially T. gondii, who had been residing in her mother’s tissues. The latter case meant that a baby needed immediate treatment to prevent active toxoplasmosis. “
Remington also led clinical trials and developed drugs to treat the disease. Stanford reports that he was the author or co-author of more than 600 articles and had 11 patents.
He was also the co-author of the most authoritative textbook in the field. Infectious diseases of the fetus and baby Remington and Klein reaches its eighth edition.
Remington was elected a Fellow of the American College of Physicians in 1966, of the Royal College of Physicians based in London in 1999, of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2000, and of the American Academy of Microbiology. in 2000. He was former president of the Western Society for Clinical Research, the Infectious Diseases Society of America (IDSA) and the International Immunocompromised Host society.
Friends and colleagues remember him as a dedicated mentor, as evidenced by the numerous participants who traveled to his 70th birthday party. Philip Pizzo, MD, professor of pediatrics and immunology at Stanford Medicine. Pizzo, the former dean of the School of Medicine, met Remington in 1977 after presenting research on the topic of the immunocompromised host at an IDSA meeting in New York. They became lifelong companions and friends.
Remington had his own kind of confidence and self-confidence, according to Pizzo: “He climbed the toughest faces in the world. You have to do a certain kind of personality to do that.”