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article imageLeading cancer pioneer dies

By Tim Sandle     Dec 29, 2013 in Science
Chicago - Janet Rowley, the scientist who linked chromosomal abnormalities to cancer in the 1970s, has passed away at age 88 from ovarian cancer.
Leading cancer specialist Janet Rowley passed away on December 17, according to Chicago-Sun Times. During the 1970s Rowley used state-of-the-art staining techniques to photograph chromosomes she isolated from tissue samples of leukemia patients. These exercises revealed a secret of cancer: chunks of DNA were jumping between chromosomes. This discovery advanced cancer research considerably forward.
Janet Rowley spent most of her career at the University of Chicago, where she earned her medical degree in 1948 at the age of 23. In 1988 she received the National Medal of Science, an honor bestowed by the President of the United States for contributions to diverse scientific fields. In 2009, Rowley received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor.
Mary-Claire King, professor of medical genetics at the University of Washington and president of the American Society of Human Genetics, told UChicago News: "Janet Rowley’s work established that cancer is a genetic disease. She demonstrated that mutations in critical genes lead to specific forms of leukemia and lymphoma, and that one can determine the form of cancer present in a patient directly from the genetic changes in the cancer. We are still working from her paradigm."
According to The Washington Post, Rowley continued to work until just a few months ago, even riding her bike to campus. The cause of Rowley’s death was ovarian cancer complications.
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