Skip to main content
Premium Trial:

Request an Annual Quote

Peter Nowell Dies

Peter Nowell, one of the discoverers of the Philadelphia chromosome, has died, according to the University of Pennsylvania. He was 88.

In the 1960, he and his colleague David Hungerford were working in the lab with leukemic cells in culture when they noticed the cells were dividing, and they stained the cells to make their chromosomes visible, the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Through this, the pair noticed that chromosome 22 in the cells from people with chronic myelogenous leukemia was quite small.

"[This was] considered a watershed moment in cancer research, demonstrating the genetic basis for cancer, which ran counter to the prevailing thought at the time," UPenn adds. At the time, Nowell was at the medical school at UPenn and Hungerford at Fox Chase Cancer Center, both in Philadelphia.

His son Michael tells the Inquirer that Nowell "lived long enough to see it developed into treatment to allow individuals to lead longer lives." Hungerford died in 1993, it notes.

The Inquirer adds that Nowell was also known for his self-effacing humor. "The teasing, humorous patter that became his signature, be it on the tennis court or in the boardroom, was with him to the end," his family tells the paper.