Chapter

Military Medicine and Cancer Therapy

in Contested Medicine

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780226465319
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226465333 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226465333.003.0004
Military Medicine and Cancer Therapy

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This chapter addresses the intimate relationship between research for cancer therapy and military medicine. It considers the efforts of Donnal Thomas from 1957 to 1977 and his development of a successful therapy for leukemia with total-body irradiation (TBI) and bone marrow transplantation. Additionally, it evaluates how his work drew on and also contributed to methods for treating the victims of nuclear explosions who were suffering from radiation sickness. Radiation sickness was defined in the period immediately following the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The work of Thomas on the treatment of childhood leukemia emphasizes the significance of advances in the diagnosis and treatment of radiation sickness for the development of new strategies in cancer therapy. In general, it has shown the significance of the paradigm problem of radiation injury and how it brought together a range of researchers with interests in military and cancer medicine.

Keywords: cancer therapy; military medicine; Donnal Thomas; childhood leukemia; total-body irradiation; bone marrow transplantation; nuclear explosions; radiation sickness; Hiroshima; Nagasaki

Chapter.  10340 words. 

Subjects: History of Science and Technology

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