Peter Nowell

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Peter C. Nowell, MD, (born February 8, 1928) is a cancer researcher and co-discoverer of the Philadelphia Chromosome.[1] He is currently the Gaylord P. and Mary Louise Harnwell Emeritus Professor of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.

Nowell received his B.A. from Wesleyan University in 1948 and his M.D. from the University of Pennsylvania in 1952, where he joined the faculty in 1956. He served as chair of the department of pathology from 1967-1973, and as the first director of the University of Pennsylvania Cancer Center, now known as the Abramson Cancer Center at the University of Pennsylvania.

At the age of 32, Dr. Nowell and his graduate student David Hungerford (1927-1993) discovered the Philadelphia chromosome, an abnormally small chromosome in the cancerous white blood cells of patients with chronic myelogenous leukemia. This discovery was a critical step in showing that cancer has a genetic basis, contrary to a widespread belief at the time.[2]

Dr. Nowell has won numerous regional, national, and international awards, including the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award, the nation's most prestigious honor for biomedical research, the Charles S. Mott Prize, the Franklin Medal, and the Albany Prize in Medicine. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences.