Major Breakthroughs from
Academic Medicine

Learn more about the value of academic medicine and the role the nation’s medical schools and teaching hospitals play in improving health.

1950s

1947

First successful defibrillation performed

1950s

Development of x-ray equipment and film for breast imaging

1954

First polio vaccine trial begins

1954

First kidney transplant

1960s

1960

First neonatal intensive care unit opens

1963

First measles vaccine is licensed and administered

1968

First successful bone marrow transplant

1969

Development of an influenza vaccine, the first genetically engineered vaccine

1970s

1972

First implantable, rechargeable pacemaker for cardiac disorders

1973

First use of a laser to remove growths from the larynx

1974

First production of recombinant DNA, the seminal step in the creation of the biotechnology industry

1975

First CAT-Scan used

1977

First human images with a magnetic resonance imager (MRI)

1977

Development of angioplasty

1978

Development of an insulin infusion pump for treating diabetes

1980s

1981

First successful surgery on a fetus in utero

1982

First artificial heart implantation

1985

First studies of zidovudine for treatment of HIV infection

1987

Discovery of HER2 gene link to breast cancer

1990s

1993

First gene-therapy procedure on a newborn infant, correcting an inherited disorder of the immune system

1994

First use of functional MRI to provide rapid diagnosis of most strokes

1995

First implantable, artificial inner ear for treatment of deafness

1998

First rotavirus vaccine approved

2000s

2003

Human Genome project leads completed prostate cancer discovered

2005

Identification of a major gene that increases the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration

2008

First full face transplant in U.S.

2009

Identification of genes associated with increased risk of autism spectrum disorder

2010s

2015

First breakthrough in new cancer therapy – immunotherapy approved for treatment of non-small-cell lung cancer

2018

First gene therapy for congenital blindness approved

2019

First nasal spray for treatment of resistant depression approved