Lasagna library

Drug development center turns 30

The Tufts Center for the Study of Drug Development is celebrating its 30th anniversary, and in honor of its founder, Dr. Louis Lasagna, the center’s research library will be renamed the Louis Lasagna Library of Drug Development Science and Policy.

In addition to directing the Center for the Study of Drug Development from 1984 to 1998, Lasagna, who died in 2003, was dean of the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences at Tufts from 1984 to 2002.

Dr. Louis Lasagna © KATHLEEN DOOHER

The library, which contains more than 24,000 books, journal articles, government documents and other publications, will be dedicated on Wednesday, March 1, at 1:30 p.m. at the center’s offices, 192 South St., Suite 500, Boston.

Lasagna was often called the “father of clinical pharmacology,” largely a result of his considerable teaching and research in the field following the publication of his groundbreaking article in the American Journal of Medicine in 1954 in which he showed that taking a pill, even one containing no medication, can have a “placebo effect.” In 1997, Lancet ranked that research as among the world’s 27 most notable achievements in a medical canon dating back to the time of Hippocrates.

Lasagna’s congressional testimony in 1962 was instrumental in establishing the efficacy requirement for new drugs in the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. He is also remembered as a passionate teacher, and an endowed professorship in pharmacology and experimental therapeutics at Tufts is named in his honor.