150 Years of Advances Against Cancer - 1960s
|1960||Peter Nowell and David Hungerford describe the first consistent chromosome abnormality in human cancer—an unusually small chromosome in the cancer cells of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). This chromosome becomes known as the Philadelphia (Ph) chromosome in honor of the city in which it was discovered.|
Howard Temin proposes the DNA provirus hypothesis of cancer. He suggests that DNA copies of some RNA viruses, known as retroviruses, can be inserted into the DNA of infected cells and contribute to the development of cancer.
|1961||Marshall Nirenberg and Heinrich Matthaei demonstrate that the information to make proteins is stored in the triplet nucleotide code of DNA.|
The FDA approves vinblastine for the treatment of cancer. Vinblastine binds to the protein tubulin, the basic building block of microtubules, which are fibrous structures inside cells that play a key role in cell division. This drug is a plant alkaloid originally obtained from the Madagascar periwinkle (Catharanthus roseus, formerly known as Vinca rosea).
|1962||The Royal College of Physicians issues a report that identifies cigarette smoking as a cause of lung cancer and bronchitis, as well as a likely contributor to the development of heart disease.|
The FDA approves 5-FU for the treatment of cancer.
|1963||The FDA approves vincristine, a drug related to vinblastine, for the treatment of cancer.|
Charles Moertel, Richard Reitemeier, and Robert Gage report results of the first placebo-controlled trial of antiemetic drugs to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting. The drugs thiopropazate and prochlorperazine are found to be more effective than placebo.
The Health Insurance Plan (HIP) of Greater New York Study begins. HIP is the first randomized controlled trial of periodic breast cancer screening with mammography.
Bergein Overholt begins clinical testing of a flexible fiber-optic sigmoidoscope for the examination of the inside of the lower colon.
|1964||The U.S. Surgeon General issues a report stating that cigarette smoking is an important health hazard in the United States and that action is required to reduce its harmful effects. According to the report, cigarette smoking can shorten human life, cause lung and other cancers, and play a role in the development of chronic bronchitis, emphysema, and heart disease.|
For the first time, a virus—the Epstein-Barr virus—is linked to human cancer (Burkitt lymphoma).
The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) is established.
|1965||More than 42 percent of U.S. adults report that they smoke tobacco regularly.|
|1966||NCI standardizes the testing of cancer-causing chemicals.|
|1967||The guaiac fecal occult blood test (FOBT) is introduced as a screening test for colorectal cancer. Guaiac is a resin obtained from the tree Guaiacum officinale and is used to detect heme, the iron-containing part of the blood protein hemoglobin, in stool samples.|
|1968||Robert Yuan and Mathew Meselson purify an enzyme known as a restriction endonuclease from the bacterium Escherichia coli and show that it cuts (or restricts) the chromosome of a bacterial virus at a specific DNA sequence. In subsequent years, numerous additional restriction endonucleases, each of which cuts DNA at a unique nucleotide sequence, will be purified from E. coli and other bacteria. These enzymes will become vital tools in DNA analysis and cloning.|
|1969||Robert Huebner and George Todaro propose the oncogene hypothesis of cancer. According to this hypothesis, oncogenes are genes that have the potential to make cells become cancerous. They arise by mutation or increased expression of certain normal genes, which are called proto-oncogenes.|
William Wolff and Hiromi Shinya perform the first complete examination of the colon using a flexible fiber-optic device. These researchers are soon able to perform routine full-length colonoscopies using a 186-centimeter-long flexible colonoscope.