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Powder From the Glass Jar

Arthur J. Donovan, MD
Arch Surg. 1997;132(7):789. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1997.01430310103025.
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In 1949-1950, as Fellow on the Tumor Service of the Department of Surgery at Yale University, New Haven, Conn, I was responsible for administration of nitrogen mustard to those patients for whom such therapy was indicated. To do so, I went to the surgical laboratory, as had Fellows before me, and measured on a balance the proper amount of nitrogen mustard powder. The powder was then suspended in sterile saline solution for intravenous administration. The powder was taken from a glass jar that resembled a large mayonnaise jar. A faded label on the bottle said "Compound X." The bottle in question is of historical significance.

In the early years of the World War II, Louis Goodman, MD, and Alfred Gilman, PhD, were members of the Department of Pharmacology at Yale University and were involved in studies of the actions, toxicity, and effects of nitrogen mustard (β-chlorethyl amines). These studies, under


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