Obituary: Charles J. Kilo, professor of clinical medicine, 94

Charles J. Kilo, MD, a former professor of clinical medicine in the Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism & Lipid Research at Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, died of pneumonia on Monday, March 15, 2021, in Naples, Fla. He was 94.


Kilo and collaborators at the School of Medicine were among the first to demonstrate that diabetes complications are linked to the duration of the disease and the degree of blood sugar control. An early advocate for aggressive monitoring and control of blood glucose, Kilo challenged past treatment methods and the safety of blood glucose lowering agents. He pushed for regular measurement of glycated hemoglobin to track glucose levels in the blood. In subsequent years, measurement of so-called hemoglobin A1c became the standard in diabetes care.

“Dr. Kilo made significant contributions to the care of patients with diabetes,” said Victoria J. Fraser, MD, the Adolphus Busch Professor and head of the Department of Medicine. “He was deeply committed to diabetes education and established an annual symposium to disseminate scientific discoveries and diabetes-related research to physicians, scientists and trainees. In addition, we are very grateful for his philanthropic support through the Kilo Diabetes Foundation.”

In 1972, Kilo and Joseph R. Williamson, MD, founded the Kilo Diabetes & Vascular Research Foundation, a philanthropic organization committed to research and education. With the goal of finding a cure for Type 1 diabetes, which Kilo referred to as “a metabolic cancer,” the foundation has since supported the Kilo Diabetes and Vascular Research Laboratory and the Charles Kilo Chair for Type 2 Diabetes and Nutrition at Washington University, as well as the annual Kilo Diabetes Symposium, a forum to educate the medical community about research and clinical practice in diabetes, as well as other endocrine and cardiovascular diseases.

A memorial will be held at a later date. Read the full obituary on the School of Medicine site.

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