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He earned his B. That sameyear, he moved to the United States to attend Harvard Medical School, graduating in four years with both an M. He did his internship at the University of Michigan Hospital and was appointed instructor in surgery at theUniversity's Medical School in The following year, he became instructorof surgery on the original faculty of the University of Chicago Medical School, and in that same year, he married Margaret Wellman.
The couple had a son,Charles Edward, and daughter, Emily Wellman. InHuggins became an American citizen. He attained the rank of full professor of surgery in Inhe spent a brief period with the Johns Hopkins University as professor of urological surgery and director of the department of urology.
He was director of the University of Chicago's Ben May Laboratory for Cancer Research prostate enlargement and prostate cancer tocontinuing his research at the university untilwhen hereturned to Acadia University to become chancellor.
He retired from the postin and moved to Chicago. Prostate enlargement and prostate cancer initial specialty was urology, but his interest in cancer was actually sparked inwhen he met German Nobel Prize-winning cancer researcherOtto Warburg. Upon his return to the University of Chicago in the early s, Huggins and his colleagues experimented with changing normal connective tissue elements into bone, using cells from the male urinary tract and bladder.
His interest soon turned to the male urogenital system, particularly the roleplayed by chemicals and hormones in the prostate gland, the male accessory reproductive gland located at the base of the urethra.
Inhe and his colleagues developed a surgical procedure which isolated the prostate gland of dogs from the urinary tract.
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This procedure allowed the analysis and measurement of secretions of the gland which form much of the ejaculatory fluid. The research was at times frustrated by the formation of prostate tumors in some of the dogs.
He turned his energy to studying the development and growth of prostate cancer. Huggins discovered high levels of testosterone, a male sex hormone, in secretions from a cancerous prostate. He also discovered that reducing male hormonesecretions by either orchiectomy castration or estrogen a female hormone therapy, or both, drastically reduced testosterone levels and inhibited thegrowth of advanced metastatic spreading prostate cancer.
He also developeda blood test to measure acid phosphatase, which is secreted by the prostate,and alkaline phosphatase, which is secreted by bone-forming cells in bone tissue, both of which showed increased levels in patients with metastasized prostate cancer.
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Using these measurements, he could determine the extent of the cancer and the effect of the hormone treatments. Huggins found that although the level of androgens male sex hormones dropped drastically after orchiectomy, in some cases they rose again, oftento a level higher than before the surgery. Investigations led him to believethat the adrenal glands were producing androgens of their own, apparently compensating for the lowered levels induced by the hormone therapy, and encouraging the growth of the cancer.
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Inhe performed the first bilateral adrenalectomy, removal of the two adrenal glands located above the kidneysproducing some positive results, even before cortisone was readily available forreplacement therapy. In the s, Huggins left the clinical environment to return to the laboratory where he began focusing on breast cancer. Huggins and two students, D.
Bergenstal and Thomas Dao, developed a treatment for cancer that entailed removal of both ovaries and both adrenal glands. Breast cancer research was being hampered, however, because of the long delaybetween stimulation and growth of artificially induced mammary tumors in animals.
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InHuggins discovered that a single dose of 7,dimethylbens a anthracene DMBA would quickly induce mammary tumors in certain types of female rats and that many of these tumors were, like some in humans, hormone dependent and responded to regulation of the hormonal environment. In the mids, a major scientific controversy developed around whether birth control pills encourage cancer of the breast and other reproductive organs.
Huggins, who by that time had spent more than 30 years researching the relationship between hormones and cancer, studied data collected from thousands of women taking birth control pills.
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He believed that "the pill" did not encourage such cancers in women. For his research on hormones and cancer, Huggins shared the Nobel Prizewith Peyton Rous, who was honored for his work 55 years earlier on viral causes of cancer.
In addition to the Nobel Prize, Huggins was awarded oneof the highest honors to be bestowed by American medicine, the Lasker Clinical Research Award, in He was also the first recipient of the Charles L. Mayer Award in cancer research from the National Academy of Sciences in He was made honorary fellow of the Royal College of Surgeons in bothEdinburgh and London, and is the recipient of numerous honorary degrees.
He died at his home in Chicago in User Contributions: Comment about this article, ask questions, or add new information about this topic: Name:.