Belle Elion-Cancer Treatment

By: Jay R.

Gertrude Belle Elion

Elion was born in Bronx section of New York City, on January 23, 1918. She entered the N.Y state's Hunter college when she was only 15 years old. Her first job was in the field. In 1937, she worked as a biochemical laboratory assistant at N.Y Hospital's school of nursing. Elion also worked at Duke University as an adjunet research professor of pharmacology and experimental medicine, starting in 1970. She was the only woman to hold a top post at a major pharmaceutical company.

The Famous Belle Elion

In 1991, she became the first woman to be admitted to the National Hall of Fame. In the years leading up to W.W.II ( World War 2 ), Elion held maginal jobs on the fingers of her chosen area of expertise. In 1941 and 1942, she taught chemistry ans phisics in N.Y City secondary schools, worked as a food chemistry analiyst with Brooklyn's Quaker Maid Company in 1942 and 1943, and was employed as a research assistant in orgaic synthesis at Johnson and Johnson in New Brunswick, New Jersey. Elion met a fellow scientist George H. Hitchings. After they met, she got the company's respect.

George H. Hitchings

George Herbert Hitchings (April 18, 1905 – February 27, 1998) was an American doctor who shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir James Black and Gertrude Elion "for their discoveries of important principles for drug treatment," Hitchings specifically for his work on chemotherapy.


In 1963, Burroughs- welcome named Elion its new assistant to the research director and in 1967, promoted her again to head of the company's Department of Experimental Therapy. As a co-winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine, Gertrude Belle Elion is known for her creation of a drug that suppresses the immune system to help the body accept transplanted tissue and drugs that fight cancer, leukemia, and herpes. She was also a fervent supporter of female scientists and once offered this advice to women who aspire to excel in their fields: " stop being polite. Challenge people. Be prepared tp ask the impolite questions "! Elion was never married. She died on February 21, 1999.
1997 Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award Recipient Gertrude B. Elion


"Gertrude Belle Elion." American History. ABC-CLIO, 2014. Web. 7 Mar. 2014.