Radium
in Manchester
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This chapter considers the legacy of nuclear medicine in Manchester, from its origins to the present day. The Cancer Pavilion and Home for Incurables was founded in the city in 1892. As attitudes towards cancer changed, ‘Incurables’ was dropped from its title. By 1901, the Cancer Pavilion had a thirty-bed capacity and became the Christie Hospital. At the Christie, a form of electromagnetic radiation known as Roentgen waves had come into use as an ‘X-ray treatment’ for cancerous growths. Professor Robert Briggs Wild, a pioneer of X-ray treatment in Manchester, became interested in the benefits of a newly discovered element called radium-226. This element had been identified by the Curies in 1898, and then isolated for use by 1902. While the first nuclear medicine treatments have now become redundant, the Christie remains one of Europe’s most important hospitals for nuclear medicine innovation.

Manchester

Something rich and strange

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