Research Landmarks

Translational research, research that takes basic discoveries and translates them into therapeutics and diagnostics that directly impact patient care, is key at GUMC. In fact, Georgetown researchers are responsible for the technology behind:

The First Diagnostic Test for HPV, which when administered during a routine Pap test significantly increases the detection rate for cervical cancer and therefore lowers death rates from this invasive disease, was developed by Wayne Lancaster, Ph.D., and Alfred Bennett Jensen, M.D.

The HPV Vaccine, which was developed by Richard Schlegel, M.D., Ph.D., along with Shin-je Ghim, Ph.D., and Alfred Bennett Jensen, M.D., at Georgetown and protects against the two strains of HPV that cause 70% of cervical cancers, and shows promise in protection against three other cancer-causing strains.

The Full-Body Scanner, the first computer assisted tomography (CAT) scanner for any part of the body, developed by Robert Ledley, D.D.S., in 1973, had a revolutionary impact on diagnostic medicine.

Allegra ®, the popular anti-histamine, was developed at Georgetown by Raymond Woosley, M.D., Ph.D., former chairman of the Department of Pharmacology.

The Automatic Genetic Analyzer, also developed by Robert Ledley, D.D.S., used a robot arm to automate process of detecting genetic defects on a molecular level.

The Predecessor of Intravascular Surgery; a technique which used a plastic pellet to reduce the potentially fatal flow of blood from an enlarged artery was developed by Alfred Luessenhop, MD, former chief of neurosurgery, and William Spence, MD, a neurosurgeon at Georgetown.

T-Wave Alternans Test, a dynamic, non-invasive method to track and diagnose T- wave alternans, which are periodic variations between heartbeats that can put a patient at risk for fatal arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death, invented by Richard Verrier, Ph.D., former professor of pharmacology, and his colleague, Bruce Nearing, Ph.D.

Artificial Heart Valve, developed by Charles Hufnagel, M.D., professor of experimental surgery, who performed the first artificial valve implantation surgery the following year.

The Protein Information Resource, developed by Margaret Dayhoff, Ph.D, is the first and one of only three global banks for genetic and protein sequences and structures.