International Women's Day - 8 March 2021 - 'Choose to challenge'

Dorothy Reed challenged medical opinion of the day to give Hodgkin lymphoma a clear diagnostic marker.

Dorothy Reed

This year, the theme of International Women's Day is 'Choose to challenge'.

On International Women’s Day, Lymphoma Action want to recognise the achievements of Dorothy Reed, who was not afraid to challenge the medical thinking of the time. Her work advanced the diagnosis and treatment of Hodgkin lymphoma.

Dorothy Reed was one of the first professionally trained female physicians of the late 19th and early 20th century. In 1901, at the age of 27, she won a pathology fellowship. Working in the Hopkins laboratories in the USA, Dorothy Reed discovered that Hodgkin lymphoma was not a form of tuberculosis as was previously thought. Instead, she established that Hodgkin lymphoma was a form of cancer, not an infection. Taking tissue samples from tuberculosis and Hodgkin lymphoma patients, she observed distinct giant cells, which only appeared in the Hodgkin lymphoma tissue. These cells, which became known as the Reed-Sternberg cells, meant that Hodgkin lymphoma now had a clear diagnostic marker.

Being able to identify Hodgkin lymphoma meant that effective treatments could be developed. 

7 March 2021