"Atoms for Peace" in Medicine and Biology

CP-1’s impact on biomedicine has been far-reaching and long-lasting, including the direct benefits of enabling fundamental biomedical research and also of saving numerous human lives. Man-made radioisotopes, produced either by nuclear reactors or particle accelerators, have been widely used for both diagnosis and treatment of major health abnormalities such as cancers, cardiovascular diseases, brain and behavior disorders, diabetes, tissue and organ injuries, etc. Radiation related technologies, many originated from nuclear physics, high-energy physics, etc., have also helped advance the development of multiple generations of biomedical imaging and therapy instruments with increasingly more and better functionalities over the last eight decades. These radiation related R&D have led to earlier and more accurate diagnosis of diseases and more efficient and effective treatments of patients, resulting in substantial saving in both human lives and societal resources.

One of the spin-offs from the CP-1 is the establishment of the Argonne Cancer Research Hospital (ACRH) at The University of Chicago in 1953 - renamed later as the Franklin McLean Memorial Research Institute (FMI) in 1970s -  for research on the peaceful use of atomic and nuclear energy in medicine and biology. Early researchers at the ACRH/FMI had pioneered the development of new imaging and therapeutic radiotracers including the first clinical use of Tc-99m to detect brain tumor and more effective production of I-125 for both research and clinical uses, designing and developing novel approaches in radiation therapy and chemotherapy for treating cancer, identification of chromosomal translocation as the cause of leukemia and other cancers, discovery of erythropoietin (EPO) and development of its purification methods, etc. These and other UChicago research contributions are representative of a much broader scope of the impact of PC-1 on medicine and biology in general, which has been actively continuing and expanding into the future.