December 20, 2011 | by City of Hope Staff
Forty years ago on Dec. 23, President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act, considered the start of what we commonly refer to as America's War on Cancer. The National Cancer Act increased funding and broadened the scope and responsibilities of the National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, to more effectively carry out the national research fight against cancer.
Discoveries made during these decades have saved lives. Cancer deaths dropped by 22 percent among men and 14 percent among women in the past 20 years alone, according to the American Association for Cancer Research, resulting in nearly 900,000 fewer cancer-related deaths during that time. Some of the significant cancer research breakthroughs occurred at City of Hope.
These advances include work that led to a new generation of drugs. In 1983, scientists at City of Hope and Genentech first demonstrated that antibodies can be made using recombinant DNA technology — technology later used in the “smart” cancer drugs Herceptin, Rituxan and Avastin.
City of Hope also was one of the first six centers in the country to perform bone marrow transplants, with the first procedure taking place in 1976. Early in 2011, the institution performed its 10,000th transplant, a milestone that only a few centers in the world have achieved. And these are just a few of the most visible achievements.