Georgios Papanikolaou: He developed the famous test that bears his name and that helps early detection of cancer in the cervix
Google today reminds the Greek doctor Georgios Papanikolaou with a doodle. The doctor, specialized in cytopathology, developed, along with with his wife Andromache Mavroyenis, the pap smear, a test for the early detection of cancer in the cervix.
Today Georgios would be 136 years old. He was born on May 13, 1883, in Kimi, on the island of Euboea and studied medicine at the University of Athens, where he graduated in 1904.
At first, he studied music and humanities but then turned to science, following the family tradition.
He served as a surgeon in the Balkan War and in 1913 traveled, with his wife, to the United States. At first, to sustain himself, he played the violin in restaurants and sold carpets; while Mary sewed buttons and thus earned $ 5 a week.
Finally, Georgios got a job at Cornell University and there, along with Mary, who worked as a technician, they developed the famous pap smear test.
The finding occurred while studying a group of friends of the couple who volunteered for this research project. During the study, Georgios noticed malignant cells in one of the samples and thus he detected, to a friend of his wife, cervical cancer.
Nowadays the Papanicolaou, a simple and economic test to carry out, is still used throughout the world to detect this type of pathologies in time.
Papanikolaou received the Albert Lasker Award in 1950 for his scientific findings and was twice nominated for the Nobel Prize. His image appeared on the Greek drachma bill (currency that was replaced by the Euro in 2002) of 10,000 and on a United States postage stamp in 1978. In addition, a Miami cancer research institute also bears his name, as Remember in the Google blog.