The Evolution of Radionanotargeting towards Clinical Precision Oncology: A Festschrift in Honor of Kalevi Kairemo

Dr. Saul Hertz (1905–1950) Discovers the Medical Uses of Radioactive Iodine: The First Targeted Cancer Therapy

Author(s): Barbara Hertz *

Pp: 101-110 (10)

DOI: 10.2174/9781681088655122010011

* (Excluding Mailing and Handling)


Dr. Saul Hertz (1905-1950) conceived and brought from bench to bedside
the medical uses of Radioiodine (RAI). Dr. Hertz established the use of
radiopharmaceuticals to diagnose and treat disease. He spontaneously posed the
question “Could iodine be made radioactive artificially?” to MIT President Karl
Compton on November 12, 1936. MGH's Dr. Hertz and his MIT collaborator, Arthur
Roberts, Ph. D., were the first and the foremost to develop the experimental data for the
medical uses of radioiodine (RAI) and apply RAI in the clinical setting. Dr. Hertz
successfully used RAI in diagnosing and treating hyperthyroidism and thyroid cancer,
believing that the targeted precision approach held the key to the larger problem of
cancer in general. RAI is the first and gold standard of targeted cancer therapies.
Hertz established the Radioactive Isotope Research Institute and The Massachusetts
Women’s Hospital’s their first Nuclear Medicine Department reported as,” Opening a
new division where radioactive isotopes will be used to study and treat disease.”

Keywords: Nuclear Medicine, Precision oncology, Radioiodine (RAI), Theranostics.

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