Cancer Research Milestones: New York’s Contributions

Cancer research in the US has been making strides since the late 1800s. While the multi-front battle against this deadly disease has been raging for centuries, most of the major steps forward have taken place in the last hundred years – and thanks to our city’s network of universities and research hospitals, a number of major breakthroughs have taken place in New York City. Below are a few of the most notable developments made by New York’s scientists, doctors and researchers:

The original location of The New York Cancer Hospital (now Memorial Sloan Kettering), 455 Central Park West.

The original location of The New York Cancer Hospital (now Memorial Sloan Kettering), 455 Central Park West.

1884 – Memorial Sloan Kettering is founded as the New York Cancer Center and is the first organization entirely devoted to the treatment of cancer.

1911 – Columbia University founds the Institute for Cancer Research.

1913 – American Cancer Society is founded in NYC

1919 – Dr. James Ewing, the patholgist at General Memorial Hospital for the Treatment of Cancer and Allied Diseases (now known as Sloan-Kettering), publishes Neoplastic Diseases: A Text-Book on Tumors, which becomes an integral text used by doctors in the diagnosis of cancer.

Mary Lasker presenting an award in 1957.

Mary Lasker presenting an award in 1957.

1946 – Mary Lasker establishes the American Cancer Society’s research program, raising $4 million in initial funding.

1946 – Researchers from Memorial Sloan-Kettering discover that some components of lethal mustard gas can be used to fight certain kinds of cancer. This discovery laid the groundwork for the development of chemotherapy as we know it today.

1953 – The Cancer Research Institute, a non-profit organization that raises money for cancer research, is founded by Helen Coley Nauts with a grant from Nelson Rockefeller.

1971 – The Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research is founded as the world’s largest private cancer research organization.

1973 – The first-ever bone marrow transplant between two unrelated people is performed successfully by surgeons at Sloan-Kettering.

1979 – The Breast Examination Center of Harlem opens, providing free cancer screenings for low-income patients.

1994 – Researchers at Memorial Sloan Kettering publish a study that confirms removal of pre-cancerous polyps reduces the risk of colorectal cancer by 90%.

2013 – Cancer Research Institute launches Immunotherapy Awareness Month in an effort to spread awareness of immunotherapy treatments, which was named “breakthrough of the year” by Science Magazine – America’s leading scientific journal.

Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies airs in three parts: March 30, April 1 and April 2 at 9 p.m. on THIRTEEN.