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Cancer Res. 2008 Nov 1;68(21):8643-53. doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-07-6611.

A history of cancer chemotherapy.

Author information

  • 1Yale Cancer Center, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut 06520, USA. vincent.devita@yale.edu

Abstract

The use of chemotherapy to treat cancer began at the start of the 20th century with attempts to narrow the universe of chemicals that might affect the disease by developing methods to screen chemicals using transplantable tumors in rodents. It was, however, four World War II-related programs, and the effects of drugs that evolved from them, that provided the impetus to establish in 1955 the national drug development effort known as the Cancer Chemotherapy National Service Center. The ability of combination chemotherapy to cure acute childhood leukemia and advanced Hodgkin's disease in the 1960s and early 1970s overcame the prevailing pessimism about the ability of drugs to cure advanced cancers, facilitated the study of adjuvant chemotherapy, and helped foster the national cancer program. Today, chemotherapy has changed as important molecular abnormalities are being used to screen for potential new drugs as well as for targeted treatments.

PMID:
18974103
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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