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Peyton Rous

Peyton RousAKA Francis Peyton Rous

Born: 5-Oct-1879
Birthplace: Baltimore, MD
Died: 16-Feb-1970
Location of death: New York, NY
Cause of death: Natural Causes

Gender: Male
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Blood banks and carcinogenic viruses

As a young man, the medical training of Peyton Rous (rhymes with house) was interrupted when he contracted tuberculosis, he believed, from a corpse he had dissected in class. Exiled for recovery to the warm weather of Texas, he worked as a ranch hand for a year, and Rous always said that his time herding cattle taught him a great deal about humanity, humility, and hard work. After resuming his medical training and earning his MD, he said that he found himself "unfit to be a real doctor", and instead taught pathology for several years before beginning his research at Rockefeller University. During the First World War, working with Joseph R. Turner, Rous developed a citrate-glucose solution that permitted long-term storage of blood without clotting. This led to the establishment of the first blood banks, a development which has saved countless lives, but this is not the work for which Rous won the Nobel Prize.

In 1911, he found that certain malignant tumor growing from connective tissues could be transmitted by injecting a submicroscopic agent extracted from cancerous animals. His findings were at first widely dismissed as insignificant or preposterous, but led to the theory -- and eventual proof -- that some cancers are caused by viruses. Fifty-five years after reporting his finding of the link between viruses and cancer, Rous was awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1966 (sharing the honor with Charles B. Huggins). During his long career, he also conducted important research into lymphocytes and blood, leukemia and benign tumors, and gallbladder and liver physiology. For almost five decades he edited the scientific review, Journal of Experimental Medicine.

Father: Charles Rous (grain merchant)
Mother: Frances Anderson Rous
Wife: Marion Eckford deKay Rous
Daughter: Marion Rous Hodgkin (married Nobel laureate Alan L. Hodgkin)
Daughter: Ellen Rous
Daughter: Phoebe Rous Wilson

    University: BA, Johns Hopkins University (1900)
    Medical School: MD, Johns Hopkins University (1905)
    Teacher: Pathology, University of Michigan (1905-09)
    Scholar: Pathology, Technical University of Dresden (1907)
    Scholar: Rockefeller University (1909-70)

    Risk Factors: Tuberculosis

Author of books:
The Modern Dance of Death (1929)

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