Over the years, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center has operated as:

The Pathological Laboratory of the University of Buffalo (1898)

The Gratwick Research Laboratory (1900)

The State Institute for the Study of Malignant Disease (1912)

Roswell Park Memorial Institute (1946)

Roswell Park Cancer Institute (1992)

Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center (2018-present)


1898 - The New York State Legislature votes to provide $10,000 to create the Pathological Laboratory of the University of Buffalo. Housed in three rooms in the U.B. Medical School on High Street, it is the first laboratory in the world to focus exclusively on cancer research. This achievement is due to the persistent lobbying efforts of eminent surgeon Roswell Park, MD, and Buffalo Evening News owner and publisher Edward H. Butler, Sr.

1904 - Chemist/physicist George H. A. Clowes, PhD, pioneers new methods of chemotherapy research that enable scientists to test a wider range of chemicals. Today Clowes is recognized for demonstrating the potential of chemotherapy as an effective cancer treatment.

1913 - The Institute opens its first hospital at the corner of High and Oak streets. It houses 25 inpatient beds and a “dispensary,” or outpatient clinic. The New York Times calls it “the most modern of hospitals.”

1921 - Marie Curie, discoverer of radium, visits the Institute during a tour of the United States.

1922 - Drs. Carl and Gerty Cori are recruited to the Institute from war-torn Austria. During their nine years on the faculty, they begin the work for which they will later win the 1947 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine: the discovery of how the body converts glucose to glycogen. This will lay the groundwork for developing effective treatments for diabetes.

1938 - Morton Levin, MD, begins collecting information about the smoking habits of Roswell Park patients. The data will later provide the foundation for his report “Cancer and Tobacco Smoking,” published in 1950 in The Journal of the American Medical Association. The report is among the first to sound the alarm about the link between smoking and lung cancer.