History

As we celebrate the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act of 1971, Cancer Talk will highlight Roswell Park's role in driving advances in cancer treatment, research, prevention and education throughout the decades. Keep reading to learn more about the people, ideas and progress that have originated from America's first cancer center.

The old book doesn’t look like much. Its red fabric cover is faded. The edges of the pages have yellowed, and there are no photos or illustrations inside — just page after page bearing the signatures of eminent people, including world-renowned scientists who changed the course of history.

From the day Roswell Park was founded in 1898, we’ve focused exclusively on understanding, preventing and treating cancer. But along the way, our work has led to major benefits for patients with other medical conditions — and created valuable tools for researchers in other fields of healthcare.

As we celebrate the 120th anniversary of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, we recognize that what we have accomplished would have been impossible without the financial support of our community.

More than a century after his death, the legacy of Dr. Roswell Park remains strong. Today, Nov. 13, 2017, Buffalo Business First will induct him into the inaugural class of the Western New York Business Hall of Fame, which recognizes the region’s preeminent business leaders and innovators from the 1800s to the present. Here’s a brief introduction to this remarkable man.
Next time you’re on the Roswell Park campus with some extra time, see if you can solve these clues and find each object. Scroll down for an answer key and fun facts!
When Dr. Donald Pinkel graduated from medical school at the University of Buffalo in 1951, the world was a pretty dark place for kids with acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). They didn’t live long after diagnosis, and experts in the field of blood cancer were convinced the disease was incurable.

Dr. James Elam not only established Roswell Park's Anesthesiology Department, he promoted the concept of rescue breathing as a standard rescue technique.

In 1951, Edwin A. Mirand, PhD, DSc became a permanent employee of Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. What would have been impossible to know at the time was just how permanent a fixture he would truly become.

The idea of building a cancer hospital in Buffalo first came to light just three years after Dr. Roswell Park opened the doors to the world’s first cancer research laboratory.

The Pan-American Exposition opened in Buffalo in May of 1901 amid high spirits and a festive atmosphere. But events took a dark turn four months later when an assassin shot the fair’s most famous visitor — President William McKinley. People have wondered ever since whether the outcome might have been different if Dr. Roswell Park, a renowned and highly skilled surgeon, had performed the emergency surgery on McKinley. Here’s why he didn’t.

Buffalo was the eighth-largest city in the United States when it was selected as the site of the 1901 Pan-American Exposition. The “World’s Fair” was organized to promote commerce and showcase the cultures and achievements of countries in the Western Hemisphere.