Jane Cooke WrightBMJ 2013; 346 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.f2902 (Published 10 May 2013) Cite this as: BMJ 2013;346:f2902
- Laura Newman, freelance journalist
In 1949 Jane Cooke Wright began testing anticancer agents on human leukaemias and cancers of the lymphatic system, one of the first research scientists to do so. Chemotherapy was, at best, little more than a last resort. Her initial research was conducted at Harlem Hospital’s Cancer Research Foundation, in partnership with her father, Louis Wright, the first African-American doctor appointed to a public hospital in New York City. Wright founded the Cancer Research Foundation, and Cooke Wright was appointed its director after he died in 1952.
Cooke Wright’s research involved testing hundreds of potential anticancer agents, studying the relation between the responses of patients and tissue cultures, and developing sequential chemotherapy protocols. She understood the importance of cataloguing her work and launched a …