Distinguished Women of Past and Present

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Charlotte Friend

1921-1987
From: United States: New York
Fields: Biology, Health and Medicine
Key Words/Phrases: virologist, virus-cancer connection
 
Oncologist and microbiologist Charlotte Friend was born in New York City in 1921. Following her undergraduate studies at Hunter College in New York, she served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. In 1950, she obtained a Ph.D. degree from Yale and, until 1966, was an associate professor of microbiology at the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research in New York. Subsequently, she was appointed professor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine and remained there for the rest of her life.

Charlotte Friend made a novel discovery that a leukemia could be induced experimentally by a virus, now known as the Friend Leukemia Virus (FLV). This conclusion was at first received with skepticism and hostility because, until then, there had been no known link between viruses and cancer. With time, however, evidence was found that some viruses can and do cause cancer.

Charlotte Friend received many awards for her work and, in 1976, was elected to the National Academy of Sciences. She died in 1987.

Contributed by Danuta Bois, 1998.

Bibliography:
Larousse Dictionary of Women, edited by Melanie Parry, Larousse, 1996

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