Diagnostics

Diagnostics: timeline of key events

Allbutt was an English physician who is renowned for inventing the short clinical thermometer. He introduced the instrument in 1866. It was a marked improvement on the previous foot-long thermometer which took 20 minutes to register a patient's temperature. In 1871 he introduced the use of the ophthalmoscope to inspect the interior of the eye. A few years later, in 1894, Allbutt determined that the painful heart condition angina pectoris stems from the aorta. 1836-07-20T00:00:00+0000Bordet was a physician, immunologist and microbiologist who won the 1919 Nobel Prize for his discovery of two components in the blood - antibodies and complement proteins. The two component help destroy invading bacteria by rupturing the cell walls of the bacteria, a process known as bacteriolysis. Bordet made the discovery in 1895. Three years later Bordet observed that red blood cells from one animal species injected into another get destroyed by haemolysis - a process analogous to bacteriolysis. His finding led to the development of diagnostic tests that hunt for antibodies in the blood to detect infectious agents. The first one was for typhoid, developed in 1896.1870-06-13T00:00:00+0000Seibert was a biochemist whose isolation of a pure form of tuberculin (a protein substance from the tuberculosis-causing bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in the 1930s paved the way to her development of the first reliable TB test. Devised at the University of Uppsala, Seibert's test, which is carried out on the skin, was adopted as the standard TB test in the United States in 1941 and by the World Health Organisation in 1952. Her test is still in use today. Prior to her work on TB, Seibert invented a new distillation process for intravenous injections that eliminated all bacteria. She developed the technique during her doctorate after finding that intravenous injections contaminated with distilled water could cause fevers in patients. 1897-10-06T00:00:00+0000Donald was a physician who was the first to successfully demonstrate the use of ultrasound for imaging for medical diagnosis. He first tested it out to investigate specimen tumours taken from human organs. Following this, he managed to use the technology to detect an ovarian cyst in a woman previously thought to have inoperable stomach cancer. In 1958 he showed that ultrasound could be used to study fetal growth during pregnancy. 1910-12-27T00:00:00+0000Yalow was a medical physicist who made her name by helping to develop the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique. RIA uses two reagents. One is a radioisotope atom bound to a molecule of the target substance and the other is an antibody that will bind to the target substance when the two are in contact. Measurements are taken of the initial radioactivity of the mixture which is then added to a measured quantity of fluid, such as blood, that contains low concentrations of an unknown target substance. The test takes advantage of the fact that antibodies prefer to attach to non-radioactive molecules. Measurements are taken of the reduction in radioactivity of the antibody reagent to calculate the concentration of the target substance. The RIA method is now an important component in diagnostic tests, being used to measure the concentration of hormones, vitamins, viruses, enzymes, drugs and other substances. The technique transformed the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and other hormonal problems related to growth, thyroid function and fertility. It is used to test for phenylketonuria in newborn babies, a rare inherited disorder that if left untreated can lead to intellectual disability, seizures, behavioral problems and mental disorder. In 1977 Yalow became the second woman in history to win the Nobel Prize. It was awarded on the basis of her RIA work. 1921-07-19T00:00:00+0000Allbutt was an English physician who is renowned for inventing the short clinical thermometer. He introduced the instrument in 1866. It was a marked improvement on the previous foot-long thermometer which took 20 minutes to register a patient's temperature. In 1871 he introduced the use of the ophthalmoscope to inspect the interior of the eye. A few years later, in 1894, Allbutt determined that the painful heart condition angina pectoris stems from the aorta.1925-02-22T00:00:00+0000Ledley was a physiologist and biophysicist who in 1973 pioneered the first whole-body computer tomography (CT) scanner. The machine transformed diagnostic medicine by allowing physicians to see soft tissue in the body that they could not see before. It also provided visual models of internal organs that conventional x-ray machines could not produce. The CT scanner improved the diagnosis of cancer, heart disease, bone disease and other disorders. It also facilitated radiation therapy planning. 1926-06-28T00:00:00+0000Ames is a biochemist who in the 1970s developed a biological test that makes it possible to quickly and cheaply identify whether or not a chemical compound is a potential carcinogen. Bacteria are exposed to the test substance and allowed to multiply. Before Ames developed his test carcinogenic testing was reliant on using live animals and was a time-consuming and expensive process. 1928-12-16T00:00:00+0000Hoffman was a biomedical physicist who helped develop the first human PET scanner. Known as Positron Emission Tomography, this is a commonly used whole-body scanning procedure for detecting diseases like cancer, heart disease and other serious diseases. Hoffman developed the technique with Michael Phelps in 1973 while at the University of Washington. In the later part of his career he focused on the development of compact nuclear medical devices, including imaging probes and small gamma cameras for breast imaging. 1942-01-01T00:00:00+0000Ian Donald, John McVicar and Tom Brown demonstrated the possibility of using ultrasound to diagnose an easily removable, ovarian cyst in a woman previously diagnosed by others to have inoperable stomach cancer. They published the finding in I. Donald, J Macivar, TG Brown, 'Investigation of abdominal masses by pulsed ultrasound', The Lancet, 271/7032 (1998), 1188-95. Their paper was considered as the most important paper on obstetrical and gynaecological sonography ever written. It laid the foundation for the widespread use of ultrasound in medicine. 1958-06-07T00:00:00+0000Originally developed to measure insulin levels, the radioimmunoassay (RIA) provides a highly sensitive means of measuring incredibly low concentrations of many different substances in solutions. It does this by taking advantage of the antigen-antibody reaction and radioactive materials. The technique is now used for a variety of purposes, including screening for the hepatitis virus in blood, determining effective dosage levels of drugs and antibiotics, detecting foreign substances in the blood and correcting hormone levels in infertile couples. RS Yalolw, SA Berson, 'Assay of plasma in human subjects by immunological methods', Nature, 184 (1959), 1648-49. 1959-11-21T00:00:00+0000Bordet was a Belgian physician, immunologist and microbiologist who won the 1919 Nobel Prize for his discovery of two components in the blood - antibodies and complement proteins. The two component help destroy invading bacteria by rupturing the cell walls of the bacteria, a process known as bacteriolysis. Bordet made the discovery in 1895. Three years later Bordet observed that red blood cells from one animal species injected into another get destroyed by haemolysis - a process analogous to bacteriolysis. His finding led to the development of diagnostic tests that hunt for antibodies in the blood to detect infectious agents. The first one was for typhoid, developed in 1896. 1961-04-06T00:00:00+0000Known as the solid-phase sandwich radioimmunosassay, the test combined the specificity of the biological antigen-antibody interaction with the high sensitivity of modern physicochemical analytical method. It used lablelled antigens or antibodies with radioactive substances such as iodine-15. CM Ling, LR Overby, 'Prevalence of hepatitis B virus antigen as revealed by direct radioimmune assay with 125 I-antibody', Journal Immunology, 20 (1972), 834–41.1972-01-01T00:00:00+00001972-01-01T00:00:00+0000Donald was a British physician who was the first to successfully demonstrate the use of ultrasound for imaging for medical diagnosis. He first tested it out to investigate specimen tumours taken from human organs. Following this, he managed to use the technology to detect an ovarian cyst in a woman previously thought to have inoperable stomach cancer. In 1958 he showed that ultrasound could be used to study fetal growth during pregnancy. 1987-06-19T00:00:00+0000Seibert was an American biochemist whose isolation of a pure form of tuberculin (a protein substance from the tuberculosis-causing bacillus Mycobacterium tuberculosis) in the 1930s paved the way to her development of the first reliable TB test. Devised at the University of Uppsala, Seibert's test, which is carried out on the skin, was adopted as the standard TB test in the United States in 1941 and by the World Health Organisation in 1952. Her test is still in use today. Prior to her work on TB, Seibert invented a new distillation process for intravenous injections that eliminated all bacteria. She developed the technique during her doctorate after finding that intravenous injections contaminated with distilled water could cause fevers in patients.1991-08-23T00:00:00+0000T. Nogtomi, H. Okayama, H. Masubuchi, T. Yonekawa, K. Wantabe, N. Amino, T. Hase, 'Loop-mediated isothermal amplification', Nucleic Acids Research, 28/12 (2000), e63.2000-06-15T00:00:00+0000Hoffman was an American biomedical physicist who helped develop the first human PET scanner. Known as Positron Emission Tomography, this is a commonly used whole-body scanning procedure for detecting diseases like cancer, heart disease and other serious diseases. Hoffman developed the technique with Michael Phelps in 1973 while at the University of Washington. 2004-07-01T00:00:00+0000Yalow was an American medical physicist who made her name by helping to develop the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique. RIA uses two reagents. One is a radioisotope atom bound to a molecule of the target substance and the other is an antibody that will bind to the target substance when the two are in contact. Measurements are taken of the initial radioactivity of the mixture which is then added to a measured quantity of fluid, such as blood, that contains low concentrations of an unknown target substance. The test takes advantage of the fact that antibodies prefer to attach to non-radioactive molecules. Measurements are taken of the reduction in radioactivity of the antibody reagent to calculate the concentration of the target substance. The RIA method is now an important component in diagnostic tests, being used to measure the concentration of hormones, vitamins, viruses, enzymes, drugs and other substances. The technique transformed the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and other hormonal problems related to growth, thyroid function and fertility. It is used to test for phenylketonuria in newborn babies, a rare inherited disorder that if left untreated can lead to intellectual disability, seizures, behavioral problems and mental disorder. In 1977 Yalow became the second woman in history to win the Nobel Prize. It was awarded on the basis of her RIA work. 2011-05-30T00:00:00+0000Ledley was an American physiologist and biophysicist who in 1973 pioneered the first whole-body computer tomography (CT) scanner. The machine transformed diagnostic medicine by allowing physicians to see soft tissue in the body that they could not see before. It also provided visual models of internal organs that conventional x-ray machines could not produce. The CT scanner improved the diagnosis of cancer, heart disease, bone disease and other disorders. It also facilitated radiation therapy planning.2012-07-24T00:00:00+0000The test hunts for 16 genes that regularly arise in cancer and 8 proteins released by tumours. It was trialled in 1,005 patients with cancers of the ovary, liver, stomach, pancreas, oesophagus, colon, lung or breast that had not yet spread to other tissues. The work was published in J.D. Cohen et al, Detection and localization of surgically resectable cancers with a multi-analyte blood test', Science, 18 Jan 2018, eaar3247, DOI: 10.1126/science.aar3247 2018-01-17T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places
20 Jul 1836Thomas Clifford Allbutt was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, UKAllbuttUniversity of Cambridge
13 Jun 1870Jules Bordet was born in Soignies, BelgiumBordetPasteur Institute
6 Oct 1897Florence B Seibert was born in Easton, PA, USASeibertYale University, University of Uppsala, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania
27 Dec 1910Ian Donald was born in Cornwall, UKDonaldGlasgow University
19 Jul 1921Rosalyn Yalow was born in New York, USAYalowVeterans Administration Hospital
22 Feb 1925Thomas Clifford Allbutt diedAllbuttUniversity of Cambridge
28 Jun 1926Robert S Ledley was born in Flushing, Queens, NY, USALedleyGeorgetown University
16 Dec 1928Bruce N Ames was born in New York, USAAmesUniversity of California Berkeley
1 Jan 1942Edward J Hoffman was born in St Louis, MO, USAHoffmanWashington University, University of Pennsylvania
7 Jun 1958First publication of ultrasound techniqueDonald, McVicar, BrownGlasgow University
21 Nov 1959Rosalyn Yalow and Soloman Berson published the radioimmunoassay method opening up a new era in immunology and diagnosticsYalow, BersonVeterans Administration Hospital
6 Apr 1961Jules Bordet diedBordetPasteur Institute
1 Jan 1972Scientists at Abbott Laboratories published a new highly sensitive test, Austria 125, for detecting hepatitis BLing, OverbyAbbott Laboratories
1972Abbott marketed the first adequate hepatitis B diagnostic testAbbott Laboratories
19 Jun 1987Ian Donald diedDonaldGlasgow University
23 Aug 1991Florence B Seibert diedSeibertYale University, University of Uppsala, University of Chicago, University of Pennsylvania
15 Jun 2000New simpler and cheaper PCR method published opening possibility for use in middle to low-income countriesNogtomi, Okayama, Masubuchi, Yonekawa, Wantabe, AminoUniversity of Tokyo, Osaka University, Eiken Chemical Co
1 Jul 2004Edward J Hoffman diedHoffmannWashington University, University of Pennsylvania
30 May 2011Rosalyn Yalow diedYalowVeterans Administration Hospital
24 Jul 2012Robert S Ledley diedLedleyGeorgetown University
17 Jan 2018Blood test detecting mutated DNA and proteins released by tumours shown to pick up early signs of 8 common cancersCohen, Yuxuan Wang, Thoburn, Afsari, Danilova. Douville, Javed, Wong, Mattox, Hruban, Wolfgang, Goggins, Molin, Wang, Roden, Klein, Ptak, Dobbyn, Schaefer, Silliman, Popoli, Vogelstein, Browne, Schoen, Brand, Tie, Gibbs, Wong, Mansfield, Jen, Hanash, FalcJohns Hopkins University

20 Jul 1836

Thomas Clifford Allbutt was born in Dewsbury, Yorkshire, UK

13 Jun 1870

Jules Bordet was born in Soignies, Belgium

6 Oct 1897

Florence B Seibert was born in Easton, PA, USA

27 Dec 1910

Ian Donald was born in Cornwall, UK

19 Jul 1921

Rosalyn Yalow was born in New York, USA

22 Feb 1925

Thomas Clifford Allbutt died

28 Jun 1926

Robert S Ledley was born in Flushing, Queens, NY, USA

16 Dec 1928

Bruce N Ames was born in New York, USA

1 Jan 1942

Edward J Hoffman was born in St Louis, MO, USA

7 Jun 1958

First publication of ultrasound technique

21 Nov 1959

Rosalyn Yalow and Soloman Berson published the radioimmunoassay method opening up a new era in immunology and diagnostics

6 Apr 1961

Jules Bordet died

1 Jan 1972

Scientists at Abbott Laboratories published a new highly sensitive test, Austria 125, for detecting hepatitis B

1972

Abbott marketed the first adequate hepatitis B diagnostic test

19 Jun 1987

Ian Donald died

23 Aug 1991

Florence B Seibert died

15 Jun 2000

New simpler and cheaper PCR method published opening possibility for use in middle to low-income countries

1 Jul 2004

Edward J Hoffman died

30 May 2011

Rosalyn Yalow died

24 Jul 2012

Robert S Ledley died

17 Jan 2018

Blood test detecting mutated DNA and proteins released by tumours shown to pick up early signs of 8 common cancers