Juan Angel del Regato was one of the most revered physicians in the history of American radiotherapy. He was born, raised, and educated in Cuba, and undertook the study of medicine at the University of Havana from 1926 to 1930.
When the University was closed in 1930, he continued his studies at the University of Paris. He received his medical degree in 1937 with a medal-winning thesis on the successful radiotherapy of inoperable cancers of the maxillary antrum. Following a two year course, he received the Diploma of Radiophysiology and Radiotherapy of the University of Paris.
Early in 1937 del Regato came to the United States bringing with him the Paris tradition of specialization at a time when there were only a handful of American Physicians who practiced radiation therapy exclusively. He served as a research fellow at the National Cancer Institute, Director of Radiotherapy at the Ellis Fischel Cancer Center in Columbia, Missouri, and Director of the Penrose Cancer Hospital in Colorado Springs from 1949-1974. He then became Professor of Radiology at the University of South Florida, Tampa and Emeritus Professor of Radiology in 1981 and a distinguished physician of the Veterans Administration.
He founded the American Club of Therapeutic Radiologists in 1958, a club with 54 initial members. This club of radiotherapists met periodically and grew in number to become the America Society of Therapeutic Radiologists and ultimately to the American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ASTRO).
Dr. del Regato received numerous honors and awards throughout his professional career including gold medals from the Radiologic Society of North America (1966), the American College of Radiology (1968), the American Society of Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (1977), as well as the American Medical Association Scientific Achievement Award (1993).
He was the first to establish a training program in radiation oncology and trained a first generation of radiation oncologists recognized today as leaders in our field including Drs. Frank Wilson, Jim Cox, Larry Kun, and many others.