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(Francis) Peyton Rous

Francis Peyton Rous
Born October 5, 1879
Baltimore, Maryland
Died February 16, 1970
New York City
Nationality United States
Fields virology
Known for oncoviruses
Notable awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1966)

(Francis) Peyton Rous (October 5, 1879 – February 16, 1970) born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1879 and received his B.A. and M.D. from Johns Hopkins University. He was involved in the discovery of the role of viruses in the transmission of certain types of cancer. In 1966 he was awarded a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his work.

He made his seminal observation, that a malignant tumor (specifically, a sarcoma) growing on a domestic chicken could be transferred to another fowl simply by exposing the healthy bird to a cell-free filtrate, in 1911. This finding, that cancer could be transmitted by a virus (now known as the Rous sarcoma virus, a retrovirus), was widely discredited by most of the field's experts at that time. As a relative newcomer, it was several years before anyone even tried to replicate his prescient results. Although clearly some influential researchers were impressed enough to nominate him to the Nobel Committee as early as 1926 (and in many subsequent years, until he finally received the award, 55 years later--this may be a record for the time between a discovery and a Nobel Prize).


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  • Sulek, K (June 1969). "[Nobel prize for Francis Peyton Rous in 1966 for the discovery of carcinogenic viruses and for Charles Huggins for the introduction of hormones for treatment of neoplasms]". Wiad. Lek. 22 (12): 1161–2. PMID 4896432.  
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  • Kreyberg, L (November 1966). "[Nobel prize in physiology and medicine 1966 (Rous FP)]". Tidsskr. Nor. Laegeforen. 86 (22): 1565. PMID 4859882.  
  • "Nobel Prize". British medical journal 2 (5520): 964. October 1966. doi:10.1136/bmj.2.5520.964. PMID 4288667.  
  • RHOADS, C P (April 1959). "Citation and presentation of the Academy Medal to F. Peyton Rous". Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine 35 (4): 216–9. PMID 13629203.  

He also worked in a convent store at the age of 13.

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