Francis Peyton Rous

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Francis Peyton Rous (born October 5, 1879 in Baltimore , † February 16, 1970 in New York ) was an American pathologist and Nobel Prize winner.


On his father's side, Rous was descended from English immigrants; his mother came from a Huguenot family . His father died early, so Peyton and his two siblings were raised by their mother alone. The mother was very concerned about a good education for her children. Rous studied medicine at Johns Hopkins University and received a BA in 1900

In 1900 a serious accident occurred when Rous, who specialized in pathology and bacteriology , accidentally cut his finger while dissecting a tuberculous corpse. A local tubercular infection developed, which later spread to the regional lymph nodes. The swollen lymph nodes were surgically removed and he was told that nothing more could be done for him, as there was no effective antibiotic treatment for tuberculosis at the time and this disease was one of the most common causes of death. Rous paused his education and went to Texas for a year, where he worked in the countryside and recovered from tuberculosis.

In 1905 he graduated from Baltimore and then began training as a pathologist at the University of Michigan . Since his salary as an assistant was very meager, he was generously supported financially by the director of the institute Aldred Scott Warthin (1866-1931). In 1907, Rous spent a year in Dresden in order to further his medical education , as German medicine enjoyed an excellent reputation worldwide at the time. After his return he got a position as professor at the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research in 1909, where he specialized in tumor medicine.

He did experiments with tumors in chickens. Using an ultrafiltrate from a muscle tumor in a chicken, Rous was able to recreate cancer in other chickens in 1911 . The pathogen could not have been a conventional bacterium as it could not have passed the fine filter. He suspected a virus in this extract , although at that time only very vague ideas about viruses existed ( electron microscopy was only invented 20 years later and modern methods of molecular biology did not develop until after World War II ). This tumor virus was later named Rous sarcoma virus (RSV) after him. In 1966, more than 50 years after its discovery, he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine “for his discoveries in the field of tumorigenic viruses”. In the same year he had already been awarded the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize , in 1955 he had received the Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal , in 1958 the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research . In 1946 Rous held the George M. Kober Lecture , and in 1953 he received the George M. Kober Medal . In 1927 Rous was elected to the National Academy of Sciences and in 1939 to the American Philosophical Society .


Web links

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Francis P. Rous: A sarcoma of the fowl transmissible by an agent separable from the tumor cells. In: J. Exper. Med. Volume 13, 1911, pp. 397-411.
  2. ^ Member History: Francis Peyton Rous. American Philosophical Society, accessed November 30, 2018 .