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Bicentennial Voices: The Birth of Chemotherapy

Working on a top-secret project during World War Two, Yale scientists Louis Goodman and Alfred Gilman discovered that nitrogen mustard, a gas that had been used as a weapon against Allied troops in the First World War, had the ability to shrink cancer tumors. With their colleague Dr. Gustav Lindskog, they watched as the first patient responded to the treatment in an experimental procedure at Yale. This moment, says Yale Cancer Center Director Thomas Lynch, was the first demonstration that a drug could be used to treat cancer and led to dramatic improvements in care.