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International Women's Day - 8 March 2024

Published on: 8 March 2024

Dorothy Reed - giving Hodgkin lymphoma a clear diagnostic marker.

Dorothy Reed HERO image

International Women's Day is a global day celebrating the achievements of women. Lymphoma Action want to recognise Dorothy Reed, whose 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 the giant cells, were distinct. 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, allowed the development of effective treatment.