Funding cancer research in the Great Depression: “wheedle, coax, and threaten”

Ned Sharpless to deliver Paul Calabresi Memorial Lecture, Nov. 2

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Paul Calabresi Memorial Lecture: “Working together to end cancer as we know it”

Yale Cancer Center will host the annual Paul Calabresi Memorial Lecture virtually on Nov. 2 at noon EST, featuring Ned Sharpless, director of NCI. 

Sharpless will present on “Working together to end cancer as we know it” in honor of the 50th Anniversary of the National Cancer Act. Sharpless will share updates and future directives of NCI and discuss initiatives and collaborations between NCI and NCI-designated cancer centers.

Hosted by Roy S. Herbst, chief of medical oncology at Yale Cancer Center, the annual Calabresi Lectureship honors Dr. Calabresi’s legacy as an internationally recognized pioneer in the clinical pharmacology of anticancer agents. 

Dr. Calabresi was the first chief of medical oncology in the country in 1963 (then called chief of clinical pharmacology and chemotherapy) while at Yale School of Medicine, before transitioning his career to Brown University in 1968 for the remainder of his career.

Spotlight article

Stanley Reimann: How One Man Saved a Research Institute
By Fox Chase Cancer Center | Oct. 28, 2021

Stanley Reimann was just one man, but in September 1930 he faced the daunting task of sustaining a fledgling research institute, which had started in 1921 in a makeshift lab above a hospital morgue, dedicated to unraveling the causes of cancer.

As the country descended into the grip of the Great Depression, the Lankenau Hospital Research Institute—later to become the research enterprise of Fox Chase Cancer Center—was coming into trouble of its own. 

Funds from the estate of benefactor Rodman Wanamaker, who had died in 1928, had run dry, and fundraising efforts by Reimann, the institute’s founding director, had so far met with frustration.

Quote of the week

I spend a good bit of my time trying to wheedle, coax and threaten some of the funds of plutocrats into our coffers for research

Stanley Reimann


Recent contributions

This column features the latest posts to the Cancer History Project by our growing list of contributors

The Cancer History Project is a free, web-based, collaborative resource intended to mark the 50th anniversary of the National Cancer Act and designed to continue in perpetuity. The objective is to assemble a robust collection of historical documents and make them freely available. 

Access to the Cancer History Project is open to the public at You can also follow us on Twitter at @CancerHistProj.

Is your institution a contributor to the Cancer History Project? Eligible institutions include cancer centers, advocacy groups, professional societies, pharmaceutical companies, and key organizations in oncology. 

To apply to become a contributor, please contact

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