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Google Doodle honors Pap smear inventor Georgios Papanikolaou

Posted By: Amy Winson On: 13th of May 2019 at 16:49

Atom Scientific are thrilled to hear the news of Google Doodle honoring inventor Georgios Papanikolaou on his discovery of the Pap stain used in the screening of cervical cancer for decades. It is great to see Papanikolaou being recognised for his great discovery.

Pioneering scientist, Georgios Papanikolaou would have been 136 years old today. The researcher is honored with the May 13 Google Doodle, which celebrates his birthday -- and his most important invention: the Pap smear.

His methodology opened up an entirely new field of medical study known as "cytopathology" which examines cells of the body to look for disease.

Papanikolaou was only 15 when he started medical school. In 1910 he received his PhD from the University of Munich and three years later moved to the US with his wife, Andromahi Mavrogeni. The duo became employed by Cornell University as researchers in the department of anatomy. They combined together and began studying cancers of the female reproductive system.

In 1928, Papanikolaou found that taking vaginal smears and examining them under the microscope enabled the detection of cancers. Although it took until 1943 for that work to be published.

With a special staining technique, Papanikolaou was able to study smears of vaginal cells under the microscope. The test is cheap and simple and has formed the basis of cervical cancer screening for decades. This type of testing can also be used to detect other diseases of the female reproductive system. The Pap smear is still used across the world for early detection of cancer.


Georgios Papanikolaou