A National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center

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Our History

The City of Hope Story
Since its inception in 1913 as a tuberculosis sanatorium started by the Jewish Consumptive Relief Association of California (JCRA), City of Hope has grown to become one of the most renowned medical institutions in the country, with a legacy of providing compassionate patient care and the best treatments available. In fact, City of Hope has pioneered many of the medical breakthroughs in the treatment of tuberculosis, cancer, diabetes, HIV-AIDS and other life-threatening diseases that are now considered standard medical practice.

The City of Hope story begins in 1913, when a poor young tailor, alone and in pain, collapses and dies from tuberculosis on a Los Angeles sidewalk. Saddened by the tragedy and spurred by compassion to help others in need, volunteers establish the JCRA and raise money to start a free, nonsectarian tuberculosis sanatorium. With almost $2,500 raised at a benefit concert at Temple Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles, the JCRA puts a down payment on 10 acres of sun-drenched land in Duarte, where they would establish the Los Angeles Sanatorium a year later. The sanatorium consists of two tents—one for patients and the other for a nurse. So begins a century-long journey that will place City of Hope at the forefront of the nation’s medical institutions.
 
 

1913 - 1940s

1914
Officially chartered in 1913, the JCRA opens the Los Angeles Sanatorium.

1920
The Jewish Ex-Patients Home helps discharged tuberculosis patients with health education, job training and ongoing emotional and spiritual support. The Ex-Patients Home merges with the Los Angeles Sanatorium in 1928.

1924
The JCRA holds its first national convention in May.

1930
The deepening Depression adversely affects fundraising efforts. But the Hollywood film community, particularly Warner Bros., broadly supports the efforts of the sanatorium with fundraising events and donations. The Warner Memorial Clinic is dedicated in March.

1937
The International Ladies’ Garment Workers Union contributes $45,000 toward the construction of the 64-bed Morris Hillquit Memorial Hospital. The finished building is dedicated in 1938, the sanatorium’s 25th anniversary year. 

1943
Streptomycin is isolated by Dr. Albert Schatz, Ph.D., at Rutgers University, resulting in the first antibiotic treatment for tuberculosis.

1946
With tuberculosis on the wane, Executive Director Samuel L. Golter outlines a plan to transform the sanatorium into a national medical center focused on cancer and other major diseases.

1949
The Los Angeles Sanatorium changes its name to City of Hope—A Jewish National Medical Center. The name will change again, in 1953, to City of Hope—A National Medical Center under Jewish Auspices.

1950 - present

1952
City of Hope partners with University of California, Los Angeles to establish the Cancer Research Institute on the Duarte campus.

1955
The so-called “cobalt bomb,” a radiation therapy machine developed by City of Hope scientists, is put into operation. The cobalt bomb delivered radiation to malignancies deep within the human body.

1965
Executive Director Ben Horowitz unveils a master plan for a Pilot Medical Center that calls for enlarging patient care, research and medical education facilities, and for modernizing the physical plant. Horowitz’s vision includes pilot research and treatment programs in heart, blood and chest diseases, cancer and leukemia.

1966
City of Hope’s Rachel Ayers, R.N., establishes the Department of Nursing Research to study and improve nursing practices.
 
1971
President Richard M. Nixon declares the “War on Cancer” and authorizes $1.5 billion for cancer research over the next three years.

1976
The Bone Marrow Transplantation program (BMT) accepts its first patients. The BMT program will grow to become one of the largest and most successful transplantation programs in the country.

1978
Recombinant DNA techniques pioneered by City of Hope’s Arthur Riggs and Keiichi Ikatura lead to the development of synthetic human insulin (Humulin).

1983
City of Hope changes its name again to City of Hope National Medical Center.

1990
The research of John Rossi, Ph.D, and John Zaia, M.D., leads to an innovative use of ribonucleic acid (RNA) as a potential therapy to block the progress of the virus that causes AIDS.

1998
The National Cancer Institute designates City of Hope as a Comprehensive Cancer Center.

2003
The National Institutes of Health designates City of Hope as an Islet Cell Resource Center, one of only 10 in the country.

2005
The Betty and Irwin Helford Clinical Research Hospital opens, replacing Hillquit Hospital. The Helford Hospital maximizes the human side of patient care and significantly increases City of Hope’s capacity for surgical procedures and programs such as the BMT.

2010
Sheri Biller becomes chair of the City of Hope board of directors. She is the first woman to hold the top volunteer position. The City of Hope Medical Foundation is established.

2013
City of Hope celebrates its 100th anniversary.

City of Hope Archives

City of Hope Archives collects, preserves and manages the records, papers, photographs and artifacts of enduring value that document the century-long history of this acclaimed institution.

Using the Archives
The Archives encourages the public’s interest and inquiries into its holdings for research and general information. Archival records do not circulate.

Donating Materials
The Archives collects and preserves materials related to the history of City of Hope. We welcome hearing from those who have materials they wish to donate.

To donate non-returnable historical materials, please contact Susan Yates, Archives Program Manager at syates@coh.org.
Welcome to City of Hope
City of Hope is a new model of cancer center, focused on rapidly transforming scientific discoveries into better treatments and better prevention strategies for cancer, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and other life-threatening diseases.

About City of Hope
City of Hope Locations

Learn about the talented individuals who are leading City of Hope towards the next horizon of treatments and cures for life-threatening diseases.

Learn more about
City of Hope's institutional distinctions, breakthrough innovations and collaborations.
 
NEWS & UPDATES
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