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Radium Therapy

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"The first experiments on the biological properties of radium were successfully made in France with samples from our laboratory, while my husband was living. The results were, at once, encouraging, so that the new branch of medical science, called radiumtherapy (in France, Curietherapy), developed rapidly, first in France and later in other countries. To supply the radium wanted for this purpose, a radium-producing industry was established. The first plant was created in France and worked very successfully, but afterwards manufactures were founded in other countries, the most important of which are now in America, where great quantities of radium ore, named “carnotite,” are available. The radiumtherapy and the radium production developed conjointly, and the results were more and more important for the treatment of several diseases, and particularly of cancer. As a consequence of this, several institutes have been founded, in the large cities, for the application of the new therapy. Some of these institutes own several grams of radium, the commercial price of the gram being now about $70,000, the cost of production depending on the very small proportion of radium in the ore.

It may be easily understood how deeply I appreciated the privilege of realizing that our discovery had become a benefit to mankind, not only through its great scientific importance, but also by its power of efficient action against human suffering and terrible disease. This was indeed a splendid reward for our years of hard toil."

—from Autobiographical Notes pp. 199-200.
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