On Aug. 2, 1946, a nuclear plant in Oak Ridge, Tenn., sold radioactive isotope to the Barnard Free Skin and Cancer Hospital in St. Louis for use in cancer research. At the time, radioisotopes gave doctors an important tool to treat certain diseases. Earlier radiation therapies, using X-ray machines that could not focus the beams, often damaged healthy tissues as well as diseased ones. Radioiodine, a product of the isotopes, was used in people suffering from cancer of the thyroid, and radiophosphorus was used in acute leukemia cases.
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