James Ewing (pathologist)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
James Ewing

James Stephen Ewing (/ˈjuːɪŋ/) (December 25, 1866, Pittsburgh — May 16, 1943, New York City) was an American pathologist. He was the first Professor of pathology at Cornell University and became famous with the discovery of a form of malignant bone tumor that later became known as Ewing's sarcoma.


James Ewing, was born in 1866 to a prominent family of Pittsburgh. He first completed his B.A. in 1888 at Amherst College and then studied medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of New York, from 1888 to 1891. While a student, he was tutored by Francis Delafield (1841-1915), Theophil Mitchell Prudden (1849-1924) and Alexander Kolisko (1857-1918), and developed a strong interest in pathology. He returned to the College of Physicians and Surgeons as instructor in histology (1893-1897), and clinical pathology (1897-1898). After a brief stint as a surgeon with the US Army, Ewing was appointed in 1899 the first professor of clinical pathology at the Medical College of Cornell University in New York. His research activities on experimental cancer were mostly pursued at the Loomis Laboratory for Research in Experimental Pathology and bacteriology and hygiene, serum pathology, chemical pathology and micro-photography (see Alfred Lee Loomis),[1] together with the Memorial Hospital (New York City, New York). In 1902, Dr. Ewing helped to establish one of the first funds for cancer research, endowed by Mrs. Collis P. Huntington. With his discoveries, Ewing became the most important experimental oncologist and helped to found, in 1907, the American Association for Cancer Research, and in 1913, the American Society for the Control of Cancer, now the American Cancer Society.

James Ewing died from bladder cancer at the age of 76.

General Memorial Hospital[edit]

In 1913 Ewing was appointed as a pathologist at General Memorial Hospital (which would become known as Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center). Under his guidance and with his subsequent appointments as Director of Cancer Research and President of the Medical Board, Memorial Hospital attains worldwide recognition in the diagnosis and management of tumors and other lesions caused by the abnormal proliferation of cells in the body.[2] In 1915 Dr. Ewing, working with Dr. James Douglas, established a radium department and laid the foundation in the United States for radiation therapy.[2] 1916 the name of the hospital becomes Memorial Hospital for the Treatment of Cancer and Allied Diseases.[2] In 1919 Ewing published the first edition of Neoplastic Diseases: A Text-Book on Tumors.[3] The book, which is translated into numerous languages, becomes a cornerstone of modern oncology by establishing a systematic and comprehensive basis for diagnosing human cancer.[2] In 1931 Ewing was elected to the presidency of the Medical Board of the General Memorial Hospital for the Treatment of Cancer and Allied Diseases, and became also its director or research.[2] He was also responsible for the creation of present-day Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, one of the most important multidisciplinary centers devoted to oncology in the world.[2] He worked at the Memorial until his retirement, in 1939. In 1908 he was president of the Harvey Society.

James Ewing Hospital[edit]

The James Ewing Hospital, a 12-story building on First Avenue between 67th and 68th Streets, opened during the post-war years. As part of the Memorial Center, it was intended to treat cancer among New York City's poor.[4]


Ewing was active in many fronts, including hematology as well as oncology. A scientific breakthrough came in 1906, when Ewing working with S.P. Beebe and collaborators proved for the first time that a cancer (lymphosarcoma in dogs) could be transmitted from one animal to another.[5][6] In 1920 he published his first work on a new kind of malignant osteoma (cancer of the bone), which later received his name.[7][8] Ewing became known also as one of the first proponents of radiation therapy for cancer, having founded the National Radium Institute[9][10] in 1913, together with James Douglas, a mining engineer. This knowledge became a cornerstone of cancer treatment at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center.[2] In 1928 he challenged the 'seed vs soil' hypothesis of metastatic tumor dissemination, originally credited to Stephen Paget and proposed that metastasis occurs purely by anatomic and mechanical routes.[11]

A collection of his papers are held at the National Library of Medicine.[12]


  • Zantinga, AR; Coppes, MJ: James Ewing (1866-1943): "the chief". Medical and Pediatric Oncology, New York, 1993, 21 (7): 505-510.
  • Huvos, AG: James Ewing: cancer man. Annals of Diagnostic Pathology, April 1998, 2 (2): 146-148.
  • Ewing, J: Clinical pathology of Blood: A Treatise on the General Principles and Special Applications of Hematology. Philadelphia and New York, 1901.
  • Ewing, J: Neoplastic Diseases: A Textbook on Tumors. Philadelphia, W. B. Saunders, and London, 1919. Fourth edition 1940.
  • Ewing, J: Causation, Diagnosis and Treatment of Cancer. Baltimore, 1931.
  • Ewing, J: Blood. Philadelphia. 1910.


  1. ^ The Register (Volumes 15-18 ed.). Cornell University. 1915. p. 110. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g "Historical Timeline". Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Retrieved 25 June 2014. 
  3. ^ Ewing, James. (1919). Neoplastic Diseases: A Textbook on Tumors. Philadelphia, W. B. Saunders, and London. Fourth edition 1940.
  4. ^ New developments in cancer, CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians, Volume 1, Issue 2, pages 64–67, January 1951.
  5. ^ Ewing, James & Beebe, S. P. (1906). A study of the so-called infectious lympho-sarcoma of dogs. Journal of Med. Research. 10:209.
  6. ^ Beebe, S. P., and James Ewing. (1906). "A study of the biology of tumour cells. "The British Medical Journal”: 1559-1560.
  7. ^ Ewing, James. (1922). Neoplastic diseases: a treatise on tumors. WB Saunders Company.
  8. ^ Pritchard, J. E. (1927). EWING'S SARCOMA: A REPORT OF A CASE. Canadian Medical Association journal, 17(10 Pt 1), 1164.
  9. ^ Parsons, Charles L. (November 1915). Bulletin 104 - U.S. Bureau of Mines; Extraction and Recovery of Radium, Uranium and Vanadium from Carnotite (1 ed.). Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office. p. 124. 
  10. ^ "National Radium Institute". National Radium Institute. Retrieved 7 June 2014. 
  11. ^ Ewing, James. (1929). Lymphoepithelioma. The American journal of pathology. 5(2): 99.
  12. ^ James Ewing (pathologist)

External links[edit]