In the 1940s, children diagnosed with leukemia had a grim prognosis; there was essentially nothing doctors could offer to treat the young patients, other than cortisone therapy to help with side effects of the disease.
But in 1948, Dana-Farber founder Sidney Farber, MD, believed a drug that blocked folic acid would shut down the production of abnormal bone marrow associated with leukemia. After a trial of this drug proved effective in a group of young patients, Farber published his discovery to the New England Journal of Medicine. Although it was met with some skepticism, it would prove to be the first of many important advances spearheaded by Farber.
In this recording from March 8, 1951, Farber discusses research in the treatment of acute leukemia. The talk was given as the Linsley R. Williams Memorial Lecture, which is part of the “Lectures to the Laity” series produced through the New York Academy of Medicine and New York Public Radio.