Papa of the Pap Smear — Georgios Papanikolaou

  • Papa of the Pap Smear — Georgios Papanikolaou

Papa of the Pap Smear — Georgios Papanikolaou

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.

Today marks the 136th anniversary of the birth of the famous Greek physician and professor of anatomy Georgios Papanikolaou.

Born in Kymi on the Greek island of Euboea on May 13, 1883, Papanikolaou is celebrated for inventing the test which detects early signs of uterine and cervical cancer.

Google Doodle's tribute was done on May 13, 2019, which would have marked his 136th birthday.

Six years later he was awarded a PhD from the University of Munich, Germany.

After marrying they moved to USA, and reportedly told his parents his "ideal in life was neither to become rich, nor to live happily, but to work, act, create and do something worthy of a man who is moral and strong". The couple initially struggled to make a living-Georgios sold carpets and played violin in restaurants and Mary sewed buttons for $5 a week-until he was recruited as a researcher at Cornell University. With his wife by his side as a technician and sometimes-test-subject, Papanikolaou began studying sex determination in guinea pigs, and quickly found that some cells in the vagina and uterus changed throughout the menstrual cycle.

As it happens, one of the couple's friends had cervical cancer at the time, which Papanikolaou was able to detect by seeing the malignant cells while examining their Pap smear under a microscope.

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.

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

"The first observation of cancer cells in the smear of the uterine cervix was one of the most thrilling experiences of my scientific career", Papanicolaou is widely quoted as saying.

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

He was nominated for the Nobel prize twice and has been featured on a USA postage stamp as well as the Greek 10,000 drachma note.

Papanikolaou has previously featured on stamps of the US Postal Service and was the face on the Greek 10,000 drachma banknote from 1995 to 2001.

Today's Google Doodle is honoring the Greek medical pioneer Georgios Papanikolaou, who worked with his wife to develop the life-saving Pap smear. He wished to develop the Papanicolaou Cancer Research Institute at the University of Miami, which he did not accomplish.

This led to an extensive trial of the Pap smear in the 1950s, which, in turn developed into a simple, low-priced diagnostic technique being employed across the world. But who was he?