Nobel Prizes and Laureates

Nobel Prizes and Laureates

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1966
Peyton Rous, Charles B. Huggins

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Peyton Rous - Facts

Peyton Rous

Peyton Rous

Born: 5 October 1879, Baltimore, MD, USA

Died: 16 February 1970, New York, NY, USA

Affiliation at the time of the award: Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA

Prize motivation: "for his discovery of tumour-inducing viruses"

Field: medical oncology, virology

Prize share: 1/2


In cancer, cells grow and multiply beyond normal limits. In 1910 Peyton Rous extracted material from a cancer tumor in a hen and injected it into a healthy chicken. The chicken developed cancer, and he concluded that cells from the hen's tumor contained an infectious substance, a virus, that transmits cancer. However, the study could not be replicated in mammals and was long overlooked. When research showed that viruses can operate by affecting the genetic material of normal germ cells, interest in Peyton Rous' discovery was reignited.

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