Robert Graves Lecture 1966_Dr. Robert Douglas Thornes

14/09/1966 in Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, 6, Kildare Street, Dublin 2

Dr. Robert Douglas Thornes, Fibrinolytic Laboratory, St. Laurence’s Hospital, Dublin.

Host Factors in Neoplasia

Introduction: The Royal Academy of Medicine and the Medical Research Council of Ireland have bestowed upon me an honour which I deeply appreciate – to give this lecture in memory of Robert James Graves.

Robert James Graves, a stern looking man, lived from 1797 to 1853, died at the age of 56, and yet might still be considered as one of the “pillars” of Dublin medicine. It is interesting to note that the thyroid gland in the disease which bears his name, “Graves Disease”, is resistant to cancerous change.

The subject of tonight’s lecture has interested me since I was a medical student at the Royal City of Dublin Hospital in Baggot Street. There, I remember the late Dr. Edward Harvey giving patients with cancer their own urine to drink. Today, we use urokinase, an extract of urine, and give it intravenously. It was, however, in 1948, that Riordan first introduced me to cancer research. He made me aware that every cancer requires a host and it is the host which is important. Riordan was studying the effect of coumarin on neoplasia and the wheel has almost turned a full circle for we are back again today studying the action of dicoumarin.

Irish J Med Sci. sixth Series, No. 487, pp.265-276, July, 1966

This being the sixth Graves Lecture since its beginnings in 1961.