Influential leprosy researcher Dr. Thomas Rea dies at 86

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

Influential Leprosy Researcher Thomas Rea Dies at 86

Dr. Thomas Rea, the dermatologist whose research into leprosy led to groundbreaking treatments for the disease, has died. He was 86 years old.

READ MORE: Foreign diplomats voicing alarm to US officials about Trump

Over the weekend, Rea's son told the Los Angeles Times he died Feb. 7 after battling a rare form of blood cancer. It's unclear why the news was only recently released.

Along with his colleague Dr. Robert Modlin, Rea was able to pinpoint the role the immune system plays in the development of leprosy symptoms, including skin lesions and growths.

And their research eventually led to modern treatments that have made the disease controllable and have enabled patients to live normal lives.

Rea was also project director for the Hansen's Disease Clinic at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center for more than 30 years. He retired in 2012.

Rea is survived by his wife, Mary, two sons and four grandchildren.

More from AOL.com:
Another potential part of missing flight MH370 found on reunion island
US man arrested in connection with girlfriend's death in Mexico
Confederate flag rally held at Oklahoma state capitol

Read Full Story

People are Reading