Jane Cooke Wright, MD

pioneered testing cancer drugs on human cancer cells

A surgeon and an oncologist, Dr. Jane Cooke Wright dedicated her career to investigating anti-cancer chemicals and testing them on human leukemias and cancers of the lymphatic system. She pioneered the use of human tissue culture to test the effects of cancer drugs on cancer cells, which provide more reliable results than ordinary laboratory mice. In 1964, she was appointed to President Lyndon B. Johnson’s Commission on Heart Disease, Cancer, and Stroke, which established a national network of treatment centers. She created new programs to study such diseases and to teach doctors about cancer chemotherapy, before her retirement, nearly 25 years later.