September 23, 2010

Michael Brennan, M.D., professor emeritus and former leader of Karmanos forerunner, dies

Michael J. Brennan, M.D., professor emeritus of Medicine for the Wayne State University School of Medicine and former president of the Michigan Cancer Foundation -- the forerunner of the Karmanos Cancer Institute - died Sept. 22. He was 89.

A memorial Mass will be celebrated at noon Sept. 25 at St. Paul's Catholic Church in Grosse Pointe Farms. Visitation is at 11:30 a.m.

Dr. Brennan was a prominent oncologist known throughout the country when he took the helm of the Michigan Cancer Foundation. He served as MCF's president and medical director from 1966 to 199l, when he retired from that position. In 1978, under Dr. Brennan's leadership, Detroit became home to the 20th Comprehensive Cancer Center in the United States.

A native of Michigan and educated at the University of Detroit, he earned a medical degree from Loyola University Medical School in 1947. He spent his early career, except for service in the Army Medical Corps where he headed the Army Medical Laboratory, at Henry Ford Hospital. He served there as Chair of the Department of Hematology and Oncology in the early 1960s, and organized one of the first, and at the time the largest, oncology service in Michigan.

He taught at the University of Detroit and the Loyola School of Medicine before becoming professor of Medicine at the Wayne State University School of Medicine in 1966. He was a director of the American Association for Cancer Research and was chairman of the Michigan Association of Regional Medical Programs.

Dr. Brennan contributed to the field of oncology by serving on the Breast Cancer Task Force of the National Cancer Institute, the Committee on Cancer of the American College of Physicians and the Public Health Committee of the Wayne County Medical Society, among many other appointments.

Family members said the oncologist maintained an office at the Karmanos Cancer Institute until just a few years ago. They said he published prolifically on breast cancer research, was a deeply respected teacher and mentor to hundreds of oncologists, and worked tirelessly to improve oncologic services and obtain grants for research. He was instrumental in introducing hospice services to Michigan.