|Description||Material relating to the research conducted by the Radiotherapeutic Research Committee and Lead Research Department, principally medical records and abstracts of patient case histories, 1919-1929, much of which was compiled into the publication: Levitt, Walter M. "Deep X-ray therapy in malignant disease. A report of an investigation carried out from 1924-1929 under the direction of The St Bartholomew's Hospital Cancer Research Committee." 'St Bartholomew's Hospital Reports' supplementary volume, 1930.|
|Administrative history||In 1919 the Medical Research Council offered the Hospital a quantity of radium to research its use in the treatment of patients. The Radio-Therapeutic Research Committee was set up to undertake and administer the project. |
Initially radium was used either on the surface of the body or, in suitable containers, introduced into natural body cavities. In 1923 the first interstitial radium therapy was carried out. Soon after the greater part of radium therapy was carried out by interstitial methods. A small proportion of cases were still treated by surface applications, the radium being applied in metal plaques and later on in Columbia paste moulds.
The Committee drew up rules for the treatment of cases, and in order to facilitate the recording and follow up of cases, limited the varieties of malignant disease to be treated to four groups: carcinoma of the cervix uteri; carcinoma of the breast; malignant disease of the upper air passages; carcinoma of the rectum. In 1928 a further group - carcinoma of the tongue - was added.
In 1921 members of the Hospital staff visited Erlangen to investigate the claims being made regarding the efficacy of Deep X-Ray Therapy in the treatment of malignant disease, and were suitably convinced to recommend that it should be adopted by Bart's. In 1924 a Deep X-Ray Therapy apparatus was purchased, mainly from private subscriptions, which was operated by the newly founded Radiotherapeutic Research Department from October 1924. Cases were again limited to the same groups as those treated with radium.
In 1927, stimulated by the work of Blair Bell, the Medical Council and Governors instituted an investigation into the treatment of malignant disease by colloidal lead. A committee and a special Lead Research Department were formed, but after negative reports into the treatment, the Department was closed in December 1928. The Lead Research Committee was combined with the Radiotherapeutic Research Committee to form the Cancer Research Committee.