For every milestone in cancer research,
there are countless men and women to thank. Through their creativity and dogged
determination, people have hope in preventing, living with, even curing some
forms of cancer.
Here are just a few of the milestones in
the war on cancer, and some of the researchers who made them:
Prostate cancer is a complex disease. Doctors cannot always predict how fast or slow it will grow. Nor do they agree on when to treat it, or which treatments to use. Predicting and monitoring the disease with accuracy help doctors and patients make decisions that result in the best survival rates and quality of life.
1954 Study shows first link between smoking and lung cancer.
1955 Researcher finds that the male hormone testosterone and the female hormone
estrogen drive the growth of prostate and breast cancers, respectively.
Research receives the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1966. Learn more
about the causes of
Scientist develops 5-fluorouracil (5-FU), a
chemotherapy drug used to treat many cancers. It is a first-line treatment for
1959 Scientist discovers growth factors; substances that can help tumors grow.
Research wins Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1986.
Cancer Prevention Study I begins. Study
will eventually be the first to link cigarette smoking to early death from lung
1960 American Cancer Society advocates widespread use of the
simple test results in more than a 70% decrease in deaths from cervical and
Judah Folkman, MD, of Harvard University discovers that tumors
create a network of blood vessels to bring them oxygen so they can grow. He
calls this process angiogenesis.
1970 Surgeon General announces that cigarette smoking is definitely linked to
The first cancer-causing gene, or
oncogene, is discovered.
Also during the '70s: A handful of forward-thinking surgeons say that
-- removal of only the breast itself -- is just as effective as a
Surgeons begin studying lumpectomy followed
by radiation therapy as an alternative to radical mastectomy.
Among those visionary breast cancer
researchers: Bernard Fisher, MD, director of the National Surgical Adjuvant
Breast and Bowel Project, and Umberto Veronesi, MD, researcher with the
European Institute of Oncology in Milan, Italy. Both launched long-term studies
of these techniques.
1971 President Richard Nixon declares a national war on cancer. The National
Cancer Act is signed by President Nixon, establishing a national program to
search for a cancer cure.
1972 Scientist pioneers the technique of bone marrow transplantation to treat
cancer. Researchers receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in
1973 Paul Berg, PhD, clones the first gene. He receives Nobel Prize in Chemistry
1974 Scientist V. Craig Jordan, PhD, shows that the drug tamoxifen prevents
breast cancer in rats by binding to the estrogen receptor. Learn more
1975 Researchers develop technology that leads to the development of a
monoclonal antibody that can enhance the immune system. This research leads to
the development of several promising cancer drugs in the late 1990s and early
2000s. The researchers receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in