1930's to the 1940's

1938 – Treatment for epilepsy

The first anti-epileptic medicine without sedating side effects is approved. The treatment, still widely used today, prevents intense, abnormal bursts of electrical activity in the brain, which can lead to seizures, enabling people with epilepsy to manage the condition.

1940 – Finding a treatment in a haystack

A scientist investigating deaths among farm cows discovers that the moldy sweet clover they've been eating contains a blood-thinning agent. It is developed into warfarin, a life-saving medicine which helps keep blood clots from forming, thus reducing the risk of heart attack and stroke.

1943 – From the ground up

A new antibiotic derived from soil bacteria radically changes how tuberculosis is treated. In the same year, other scientists working with soil bacteria develop the first broad-spectrum antibiotic, for previously untreatable diseases like typhoid fever.

1948 – An early weapon against cancer

Scientists discover that blocking folic acid shrinks tumors, leading to one of the first chemotherapy medicines, methotrexate. The innovation continued to bear fruit four decades later.


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