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Volume 21, Number 3, 2016

The contribution of women to radiobiology: Marie Curie and beyond

Anna Gasinska


Marie Sklodowska-Curie, an extraordinary woman, a Polish scientist who lived and worked in France, led to the development of nuclear energy and the treatment of cancer. She was the laureate of two Nobel Prizes, the first woman in Europe who obtained the degree of Doctor of Science and opened the way for women to enter fields which had been previously reserved for men only. As a result of her determination and her love of freedom, she has become an icon for many female scientists active in radiation sciences. They are successors of Maria Curie and without the results of their work, improvement in radiation oncology will not be possible. Many of them shared some elements of Maria Curie's biography, like high ethical and moral standards, passionate dedication to work, strong family values, and scientific collaboration with their husbands. The significance of Tikvah Alper, Alma Howard, Shirley Hornsey, Juliana Denekamp, Helen Evans, Eleanor Blakely, Elizabeth L. Travis, Fiona Stewart, Andree Dutreix, Catharine West, Peggy Olive, Ingela Turesson, Penny Jeggo, Irena Szumiel, Eleonor Blakely, Sara Rockwell and Carmel Mothersill contribution to radiation oncology is presented. All the above mentioned ladies made significant contribution to the development of radiotherapy (RT) and more efficient cancer treatment. Due to their studies, new schedules of RT and new types of ionizing radiation have been applied, lowering the incidence of normal tissue toxicity. Their achievements herald a future of personalized medicine.

Signature: Rep Pract Oncol Radiother, 2016; 21(3) : 250-258

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