Peter Nowell, American cancer researcher, Died at 88


Peter Carey Nowell was born on February 8, 1928, and died on December 26, 2016.

He was a cancer researcher and co-discoverer of the Philadelphia Chromosome.

Prior to his death, Nowell was the Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

He had received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1948 and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952.

Nowell spent two years in the US Navy studying radiation and bone marrow transplantation and then returned to UPenn where he joined the faculty in 1956.

Nowell served as chair of the department of pathology from 1967-1973, and as the first director of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, now known as the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

By the time he was age 32, Dr. Nowell and his graduate student David Hungerford (1927-1993) discovered the Philadelphia chromosome, an abnormally small chromosome in the cancerous white blood cells of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia.

The discovery was a crucial step in showing that cancer has a genetic basis, contrary to a widespread belief at the time.

The information that was gathered made the development of imatinib and other targeted therapies possible.

During the 1960s, Nowell published that phytohemagglutinin was capable for triggering mitosis, which allowed scientists to grow cells in culture for the study for cancer.

He died in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Peter Nowell passed away at 88 years old.