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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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