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A History of Medical Breakthroughs Between Cubs World Series Titles

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The last time the Chicago Cubs won the World Series, influenza and pneumonia were the leading causes of death in the United States. More than one in four children died before reaching the age of five, and infants were commonly given high concentrations of morphine to combat teething pains. Chicago’s title clincher over the Detroit Tigers came on October 14, 1908—a full two months before scientists Karl Landsteiner and Erwin Popper would discover the cause of a little-known disease called Polio.

Medicine has changed a lot since then, driven by tremendous advances in science and technology. Here’s a look at a few of the major medical events since 1908:

1916: Polio epidemic breaks out in New York and Boston

1928: Penicillin, the first true antibiotic, is discovered

1936: Pacemaker is successfully demonstrated in two separate cases

1943: The first dialysis machine is built from tin cans and washing machine parts

1949: First chemotherapy drug is approved for cancer

1953: Heart-lung bypass machine successfully sustains heart and lung function during surgery

1955: The polio vaccine is discovered, combating one of the deadliest diseases in American history

1956: The first successful human bone marrow transplant is performed

1963: Scientists create the first artificial heart

1971: The first commercial CT Scanner is used/Nixon Declares War on Cancer (National Cancer Act of 1971)

1973: Dean Kamen patents the first ever insulin pump

1978: Dr. Raymond Damadian patents the MRI

1981: The first ever cancer vaccine successfully prevents Hepatitis-B

1987: FDA approves the first treatment for AIDS

1992: Dr. Leroy Hood patents his invention of the automated DNA sequencing technique

1998: Herceptin, a targeted treatment for breast cancer, is approved by FDA, dramatically improving treatment outcomes

2003: The first full sequencing of the human genome is completed

2006: The first vaccine is approved to prevent cervical cancer

2013: Sofosbuvir (Sovaldi) is approved as the first cure for Hepatitis-C

2015: House passes 21st Century Cures Act

2016: Senate HELP Committee advances medical innovation package; Congress sets the stage for a new generation of medical discoveries

As the Chicago Cubs celebrate last night’s historic victory over the Cleveland Indians, policymakers will deliberate over medical innovation legislation to set the stage for the next century of medical discoveries. And with so much at stake for patients in need, we hope cures legislation will join the Chicago Cubs in flying the W.

Join BPC on November 17 for a discussion with leaders representing the administration, industry, and patients to discuss priorities for medical innovation in the coming months.

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