stage prostate cancer a glimmer of hope. Because of University of Chicago's Charles B. Huggins, there's a palliative treatment that puts a damper on the disease and can improve quality of life.
Huggins made history by altering the body's hormonal milieu to slow or stop cancer cell growth. He showed that either surgically removing testicles or suppressing their testosterone action with medication could turn off the fuel to hormone-driven malignant cells. Huggins, with Clarence V. Hodges, initiated their hypothesis on benign enlarged prostates of dogs, eliminating the testicles to shrink the gland and then injecting hormones before measuring regrowth. Their findings not only confirmed testosterone's role in the gland's growth, but also hinted that human prostates could be similarly manipulated. In the patient research that followed, Huggins, with Hodges, R.E. Stevens Jr. and William W. Scott, confirmed that malignant prostate cells had a similar dependence on hormones. Castration and/or doses of the female hormone estrogen could slow or retard tumor growth.