Herman Suit was born in Texas in 1929. His education has been B.Sc., University of Houston, 1948; M. Sc., Biochemistry, and MD Baylor, 1952; D. Phil. Oxford University, 1956.
His career path was: National Cancer Institute, 2 years; MD Anderson, 11 years; and Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School since 1970.
At the MDAHCC he developed the strategy of limb salvage for extremity sarcoma by combination of moderate dose radiation and less than radical surgery.
He led the design and fabrication of the Fletcher-Suit Applicator for the afterloading technique of irradiation of cancers in the uterine cervix
In 1970, he moved to the MGH and was very active in the development of the Department of Radiation Oncology with major expansions of Clinical, Physics and Biology programs.
A major interest was improving techniques for improving dose distribution. These were: proton beam therapy, intraoperative electron beamtherapy and CT controlled brachytherapy. He started definitive fractionated proton beam therapy January 1974 at the Harvard Cyclotron Laboratory. The program recently moved to the new Proton Therapy Center at the MGH. Gains over photon therapy include: sarcomas of the base of the skull, melanomas of the eye, nasopharyngeal cancers, and several pediatric tumors.
On the experimental animal systems he continued with an extensive series of highly talented postdoctoral fellows and residents.
The department developed very rapidly in terms of full time science staff. For example, 12 Ph D staff in physics and 7 in Biology, 6 PhD. This is in addition to the numbers of post-doctoral fellows.