150 Years of Advances Against Cancer - 1900s-1930s
|1902||Theodor Boveri proposes that cancerous tumors arise from single cells that have suffered chromosome damage. He suggests that these chromosome changes cause the cells to divide uncontrollably.|
|1903||S.W. Goldberg and Efim London report the first use of radiation therapy to cure cancer. They describe two patients with basal cell carcinoma of the skin who were cured by radium therapy.|
|1904||Hugh Young and William Halsted perform the first radical perineal prostatectomy to treat prostate cancer. In this surgical procedure, the prostate gland is removed through an incision in the area between the scrotum and the anus.|
|1907||The American Association for Cancer Research (AACR) is established.|
|1909||Paul Ehrlich proposes that the immune system usually suppresses tumor formation, a concept that becomes known as the “immune surveillance” hypothesis. This proposal will stimulate research aimed at harnessing the power of the immune system to fight cancer, including the development of cancer vaccines.|
|1911||Peyton Rous discovers a virus that causes cancer in chickens (Rous sarcoma virus).|
|1912||Cancer cells are grown in the laboratory, establishing the first long-term "tissue culture."|
A nationwide organization dedicated to public education about cancer is formed—the American Society for the Control of Cancer, which later becomes known as the American Cancer Society.
Katsusaburo Yamagiwa and Koichi Ichakawa induce cancer in rabbits by applying coal tar to their skin, providing experimental proof that chemicals can cause cancer. The possibility that some chemicals might cause cancer had been proposed more than 150 years earlier, with the publication of John Hill’s observations on the high rate of nasal cancer among chronic users of snuff.
|1922||The Public Health Service opens a Special Cancer Investigations Laboratory at Harvard Medical School.|
|1928||George Papanicolaou discovers that cell samples taken from the vagina can reveal the presence of cervical cancer. This breakthrough leads to the development of the Pap test, which will help save countless lives in the future through its ability to detect cancerous and precancerous cells in the cervix.|
|1930||The National Institute of Health is established by Congress in the Ransdell Act.|
|1932||David H. Patey develops the modified radical mastectomy for breast cancer. In this surgical procedure, the entire breast, axillary lymph nodes, and pectoralis minor muscle behind the breast are removed. The modified radical mastectomy is less disfiguring than the radical mastectomy and will eventually replace the radical mastectomy as a standard treatment option for breast cancer.|
|1937||Legislation signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt establishes the National Cancer Institute (NCI).|
George Keynes is first person to describe the treatment of breast cancer with breast-conserving surgery followed by radiation therapy. After surgery, long needles containing a radioactive source (radium) were inserted throughout the affected breast and near the axillary lymph nodes. A 5-year survival rate of 69 percent was reported for women whose cancer was confined to the breast.