The Invention of Chemotherapy

Travis Miller


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When was Chemotherapy "Invented"

Chemotherapy was first discovered in the early 20th century during WWII on accident.

The Inventor(s)- Sidney Farber- Alfred Gilman and Louis Goodman

*These People didn't invent chemotherapy, but they improved from what happened in WWII.

Sidney Farber started to mess with chemicals, after hearing what happened in WWII, to find a way to cure of some forms of cancer and other diseases.(picture one)

Alfred Gilman and Louis Goodman started to test mustard agents to treat lymphoma and other cancers in 1946.

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Where the Invention was Being Worked on

Chemotherapy came from a fluke incident in WWII, but Sidney Farber started working on other things to help with cancer in Boston. Gilman and Goodman worked on their treatments at Yale under wartime secrecy.

History of Chemotherapy

With WWI happening and chemicals being used to fight with, the people who were exposed to mustard gas had toxic changes to their bone marrow. While this all happened the U.S. were looking for a more effective war chemical. During the testing, they found that the compound nitrogen mustard was a good agent to fight against lymphoma.

Sidney Farber heard about the whole ordeal with the nitrogen mustard, and he proved that aminopterin reprieved children with acute leukemia. Aminopterin blocked a crucial reaction for DNA replication.

Alkylating agents damage the DNA to stop the reproduction of cancerous cells. Antimetabolites interfere with the DNA and RNA of cancerous cells to stop growth by taking the place of the normal building blocks of DNA and RNA. Anti-tumor antibiotics alter the DNA of the cancerous cells to stop multiplying/replicating. Anthracyclines are anti-tumor antibiotics. These are just some of the many different chemicals that doctors use in chemotherapy. All of these came from the idea in WWII.

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The Impact on Society

FInding out that nitrogen mustard and many other chemicals, the world of cancer is very different. That discovery has helped many people who have cancer to live longer. Chemotherapy is always changing because we find new chemicals and compounds that either stop the growth of tumors or kill the cells in the tumors.


Works Cited

Altman, Lawrence K. "Dr. Louis S. Goodman, 94, Chemotherapy Pioneer, Dies." The New York Times. The New York Times, 27 Nov. 2000. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

Chemoterapy. Digital image. BeVeite. N.p., 19 May 2015. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

Chemotherapy. Digital image. Mesothelioma Chemotherapy. About Mesothelioma, 17 Sept. 2015. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

"Evolution of Cancer Treatments: Chemotherapy." Evolution of Cancer Treatments: Chemotherapy. American Cancer Society, 12 June 2014. Web. 18 Sept. 2015.

Mandal, Ananya. "History of Chemotherapy." News-Medical. N.p., 11 Dec. 2009. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

Person in treatment of chemotherapy. Digital image. Treatment- Breast Cancer. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Sept. 2015.

Sidney Farber. Digital image. Wikipediea. Wikipedia, n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.

Yale University. Digital image. Zanda. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Sept. 2015.