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I read with interest the article by Ivanova et al,1 which was recently published in Gut. In the January 2013 issue of the journal, Dr Ivanova et al report on cisplatin sensitivity in intestinal and diffuse-type gastric carcinomas. This classification of gastric carcinoma was originally proposed by Dr Pekka August Laurén, who recently celebrated his 90th birthday. I had an opportunity to converse with him.
Timo J Nevalainen (TJN): The gastroenterology community at large has adapted the Laurén classification of gastric carcinoma, and your publication in 19652 has been cited in more than 3000 scientific articles. It would be interesting to hear about your life and classification, perhaps first about your early years.
Pekka A Laurén (PAL): I was born in Tampere, Finland, in 1922. My father was a sailor and, later, a successful textile industrialist. The war 1939–1944 between the Soviet Union and Finland totally dominated my youth. I finished school in 1940 and initiated my studies in the Faculty of Medicine, University of Helsinki, but in summer 1941, at the age of 18, after experiencing the savage Russian air raids destroying my home town Turku the previous year, I enlisted as a volunteer in the army and served in field …