I know if it has been quite some time since I’ve done a #WomenInSTEMWednesday, but that isn’t going to stop me from picking it back up. This week’s #WomenInSTEM is a lady that some nicknamed “the mother of chemotherapy”, Jane Cooke Wright.
For Wright, being a doctor was in her blood. Her grandfather graduated from Yale Medical School as the first African-American and her father founded the Cancer Research Foundation for Harlem’s Hospital.
At the time that Wright graduated from New York Medical School, if you were diagnosed with cancer, it was similar to getting a death sentence. Wright wanted to change that. She started by working with her father at Harlem Hospital.
Her research took a different approach to some of the chemo drugs. Rather than giving the drugs to the patient directly, she tested the drugs on samples of the cancer tissue. This was not only easier on the patient, but also allowed her to quickly create a “cocktail” of drugs for each patient. On top of the way she tested drugs on the cancer tissue, she also developed a way to safely deliver the chemotherapy to the tumors without having to remove an entire organ.
In a time when it was odd to have African-American doctors and even more rare to have one that was female, Wright was a trailblazer! She not only changed things in the oncology world but she also developed better programs to study stroke and heart disease. #WomenInSTEM