Medicine: Cancer Volunteers

On wooden benches in the well-guarded recreation hall of the Ohio Penitentiary at Columbus sat 53 convicts—killers in for life, bank robbers, embezzlers, check forgers. Some wore the white jacket and trousers of hospital attendants (duty for which they had volunteered in the prison); others, fresh from work gangs, wore blue dungarees. As a man's name was called he walked upstairs to a room equipped as an emergency surgery, sat down and proffered a bare forearm. Dr. Chester M. Southam of Manhattan's Sloan-Kettering Institute then proceeded to inject live cancer cells.

First, Dr. Southam used Novocain to anesthetize an area about...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!