Rous, Peyton

Rous, (Francis) Peyton

(1879–1970) pathologist; born in Baltimore, Md. He taught pathology at the University of Michigan (1906–08), then joined the Rockefeller Institute (1909–45), continuing his research, and publishing 60 scientific papers after his ostensible retirement. In 1911 he began experiments on chickens with malignant tumors; this led to the discovery that these tumors were caused by what is now known as the Rous sarcoma virus. This revolutionary finding was not immediately believed, and Rous went on to formulate the acid-citrate-dextrose solution for preserving human red cells for transfusion (1915), which saved lives in both world wars and is still used in modern blood banks. He also performed research on the gall bladder, liver, and hepatic circulation. He returned to virus-induced tumors in 1933, studying for the next 20 years both the viral origin of the Shope rabbit papilloma (wart), and the possible interplay of viruses and chemicals as carcinogens. Rous received one-half the 1966 Nobel Prize in physiology for his landmark contributions to viral oncogenesis. He became a consultant to the Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research (1957–70).