Chemotherapy started being used to treat cancer in the 1940s in the USA. At this time, it was discovered that the chemical warfare agent nitrogen mustard (mustard gas) was an effective treatment against cancer. Shortly after World War II, folic acids started to be used to treat cancer, mainly leukemia, as another form of chemical therapy. Folic acid plays a major role in DNA metabolism. Although chemotherapy didn’t come into use until the 1940s and 1950s, it is often stated that Paul Elrich, German bacteriologist, is the father of chemotherapy. In the early 1900s, he came up with many of the major principles used to found chemotherapy.
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