Google pays tribute to Greek inventor of smear test

Modesto Morganelli
Мая 15, 2019

He was born on May 13, 1883 in Kymi, Greece and passed at the age of 78 on February 19, 1962 in Miami, Florida. He inventor of the Pap smear, Papanicolaou test, a method of cervical screening used to detect potentially precancerous and cancerous processes in the cervix.

Its effect on reducing fatalities from the disease are hard to calculate accurately, but Cancer Research estimates that rates have nearly halved in the United Kingdom since cervical screening was introduced in the 1980s.

You might not know Georgios Papanikolaou's name, but you certainly know his most famous creation.

Google Doodle honored on Monday Georgios Papanikolaou, a Greek pioneer in cytopathology and early cancer detection, mostly notable for his invention of the "Pap Smear".

Papanikolaou was only 15 when he started medical school. In 1910 he received his PhD from the University of Munich and three years later immigrated to the USA with his wife, Andromahi Mavrogeni.

They initially struggled to get by, with Dr Papanikolaou selling carpets and playing the violin in restaurants while his his wife sewed buttons.

"There, Georgios worked alongside his wife who served as a technician and sometimes test subject".

The couple had a breakthrough when they were asked to participate in a study looking at how cells in the vagina and uterus change during the menstrual cycle in the 1920s.

His discovery of the Pap smear, which he worked on with his wife Andromachi Mavroyenis, has saved countless lives across the world through the early detection of cervical cancer. During the study, Papanikolaou detected malignant cells in one guest's sample, diagnosing his wife's friend with cervical cancer.

Based on some estimates the smear test has helped slash the number of fatalities in half.

The revolutionising test saw Georgios he nominated for the Nobel Prize twice.

He received the Albert Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research in 1950.

GEORGIOS Papanikolaou is being celebrated by Google Doodle today. Other honors bestowed upon him include appearing on the Greek 10,000 drachma banknote before the currency was replaced by the Euro, and appearing on a US 13 cent stamp in 1978. He wished to develop the Papanicolaou Cancer Research Institute at the University of Miami, which he did not accomplish.

When you get a Pap test, your doctor first inserts a tool called a speculum into your vagina. But who was he?

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