Promising milestones in oncology

Compiling the hopeful moments that marked the turning point in the field of oncology from the past to the present, for the 1-7 April Cancer Week, Roche Pharmaceuticals presents 15 milestones in the history of world oncology, from the first use of general anesthesia to remove tumors to the first chemotherapy drug approved for cancer treatment. reveals the developments behind the point reached.

Roche Pharmaceuticals Turkey General Manager Adriano Treve“At Roche, we focus on developing innovative medicines that help patients live longer and better lives. While our efforts to make a difference in the field of oncology continue; We believe in the importance of remembering once again the historical moments that radically changed the approach to cancer and the treatment process of the disease. We think it is meaningful to see how promising developments have been achieved by bold steps.”

15 milestones in oncology from past to present

  • In October 1846, general anesthesia was used for the first time to remove tumors.
  • In the 1870s, it was hypothesized that the “cancer poison” spread from the primary tumor to other regions via the lymph nodes, causing metastasis.
  • Following Marie Curie’s discovery of radium in 1898, doctors reported in 1903 that the radioactive element was first used in the treatment of cancer.
  • Paul Ehrlich suggested in 1909 that tumor growth is usually suppressed by our own immune system. Immunotherapy, which uses the body’s immune system to fight cancer, is a rapidly growing field in cancer treatment today.
  • In today’s developing world, the PAP test, which is widely preferred to detect and treat cervical cancer before it has a chance to spread, and named after its creator, George Papanicolaou, started to be used in 1943.
  • Nitrogen mustard (mustard gas), which was used as a chemical warfare agent in World War II, was approved in 1949 by US regulatory agencies as the first drug to be used in cancer chemotherapy.
  • In the 1950s-1960s, reports were presented revealing the link between smoking and cancer, especially lung cancer.
  • The pioneering work of Charles Huggins, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1966 with his research showing that hormonal treatment of prostate cancer is possible, led to the development of treatments for both prostate and breast cancer.
  • The role of angiogenesis in tumor development and spread was first demonstrated by Judah Folkman in 1971, enabling the development of angiogenesis inhibitors that significantly alter the general condition of many patients.
  • In 1975, Georges Kohler and Cesar Milstein published their paper on the production of monoclonal antibodies, a type of biological therapy widely used in cancer treatment today.
  • Computed Tomography, which allows targeting the correct position without damaging healthy tissue by using X-rays to create images of the tumor inside the body, was first seen in the 1970s.
  • In 1997, the first molecular-targeted drug in a new class of drugs called monoclonal antibodies was approved for the treatment of people with a type of lymphoma that no longer responds to other treatments.
  • In 2003, the code of the human genome was published as a result of 13 years of research. This revolutionary event paved the way for extensive genetic research, including the identification of genetic defects in specific cancers. In 2009, researchers deciphered the entire genetic code of skin and lung cancer, two of the most common cancers.
  • In 2010, the first cancer treatment vaccine for the treatment of metastatic prostate cancer was approved.

The first drug, which was given the title of “revolutionary treatment”, created by the regulatory authorities in the USA for the rapid introduction of drugs that show significant improvement compared to existing treatments, was approved in 2013 for the treatment of chronic lymphocytic leukemia.




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