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Vol. LXV, No. 16
August 2, 2013
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CC Celebrates 60 Years of Medical Discovery with Special Grand Rounds

The Clinical Center’s first patient—Charles Meredith, a Maryland farmer with prostate cancer—was admitted to the brand new facility on July 6, 1953. Sixty years and nearly a half a million patients later, NIH celebrated the hospital’s role in discovering tomorrow’s cures with a special Grand Rounds/Contemporary Clinical Medicine: Great Teachers presentation in Masur Auditorium on July 10.

The Grand Rounds featured lectures by Dr. James F. Holland, a cancer researcher who worked at the CC at its opening 60 years ago, and his son, Dr. Steven M. Holland, chief of the NIAID Laboratory of Clinical Infectious Diseases and NIH deputy director for intramural clinical research.

The senior Holland, distinguished professor of neoplastic diseases at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, is a pioneer in clinical cancer research. He contributed to the first combination chemotherapy in acute leukemia and helped transform what was once an incurable disease to a disease with an over 80 percent survival rate.

NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman (l) chats with Dr. James F. Holland, who was on staff at the Clinical Center when the hospital opened in 1953. CC director Dr. John Gallin presented a review of the hospital’s 60 years of clinical research. The father-son duo of Dr. James F. and Dr. Steven M. Holland hints at the family-centered nature of CC care.

NIH deputy director for intramural research Dr. Michael Gottesman (l) chats with Dr. James F. Holland, who was on staff at the Clinical Center when the hospital opened in 1953.

CC director Dr. John Gallin presented a review of the hospital’s 60 years of clinical research.


The father-son duo of Dr. James F. and Dr. Steven M. Holland hints at the family-centered nature of CC care.

Photos: Bill Branson

"I became interested in the proposition of what causes cancer,” he said. “Most cancers arise from specific causes. The problem is we just don’t know what those specific causes are most of the time.” He presented on his research on the human mammary tumor virus, a virus that is present in 40 percent of American women’s breast cancers that is 90-95 percent homologous to the mouse mammary tumor virus, a milk-transmitted virus that causes breast cancer in mice.

Steven followed his father. His presentation, “Location, Location, Location: The Mycobacterial Susceptibility Story,” detailed his research on nontuberculous mycobacterial infections. “It turns out that where your problem is has a lot to do with what your problem is, and the first question to ask is not what is the organism involved but where is the organism involved,” he said, emphasizing the focus on patient experience.

“It starts with patients, it’s complicated and confusing and it has lots of twists and turns but it’s the most exciting thing out there and that is what the Clinical Center is all about,” said Steven. “Here you have the guy who was here on day one talking about patient-centered research, and here we are today talking about the same thing. That is what 60 years of this place seems to be about.”

NIMH clinical director Dr. Maryland Pao (l) and NIDCD clinical director Dr. Carter VanWaes chat with Gallin at Grand Rounds.

NIMH clinical director Dr. Maryland Pao (l) and NIDCD clinical director Dr. Carter VanWaes chat with Gallin at Grand Rounds.

CC director Dr. John Gallin also presented a review of the hospital’s 60 years of clinical research, highlighting some of the advances and medical milestones accomplished throughout the center’s history as well as in recent years. From the first HIV/AIDS treatments and digital medical record systems, to the discovery of the gene for stuttering and the discovery of autoinflammatory diseases, the accomplishments are too many to display, he said.

“All this started here,” said Gallin. “So much of the standard of care in the United States, which we take for granted, originated in this building.”

The lecture was a true reunion, complete with public display of embarrassing family photos and disclosures of guilty pleasures. The crowd in the auditorium, which swelled to more than 800 people including an overflow audience in Lipsett Amphitheater, and the reception that followed demonstrated the significance of the milestone to the CC community.

Gallin acknowledged that the CC and NIH mean different things to different people. “To some it’s the buildings or grounds, to many it’s the science, to the patients it’s the care,” he said. “But I think to everyone, it’s the amazing group of people who work here that we get to interact with every day and who have been here before us.”

For more information about the anniversary, including historical milestones and details about the celebration visit http://clinicalcenter.nih.gov/about/news/annivers60.shtml.


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