(1879 - 1970)
American pathologist whose discovery of cancer-inducing viruses earned
him a share of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1966.
Rous was educated at Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, and at the
University of Michigan. He joined the Rockefeller Institute for Medical
Research (now Rockefeller University) in New York City in 1909 and remained
there throughout his career. In 1910 Rous found that sarcomas in hens
could be transmitted to fowl of the same inbred stock not only by grafting
tumour cells but also by injecting a submicroscopic agent extractable
from them; this discovery gave rise to the virus theory of cancer causation.
Although his research was derided at the time, subsequent experiments
vindicated his thesis, and he received belated recognition in 1966 when
he was awarded (with Charles B. Huggins) the Nobel Prize.
Aside from cancer research, Rous did investigations of liver and gallbladder
physiology, and he worked on the development of blood-preserving techniques
that made the first blood banks possible.