A.C. Ivy Papers Document Medical History and Cancer Research

Andrew Conway Ivy (1893-1978) was born in Farmington, Missouri.  In 1913, at age 20, he received the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Pedology degrees from Missouri State Normal School.  The research studies for his master’s degree (M.S., 1917) and doctorate (Ph.D., 1918) were in gastric physiology.  While completing the work toward his M.D. degree (Rush Medical School, 1922) he was instructor in physiology at the University of Chicago (1917-1919) and Associate Professor of Physiology at Loyola University of Medicine (1919-1923).

He returned to the University of Chicago as Associate Professor of Physiology, 1923-1925, and then was called to the chair of Physiology and Pharmacology at Northwestern University as the Nathan Smith Davis Professor where he remained until 1946.  From 1946 to 1953 he was Vice President of the University of Illinois in charge of the Chicago professional colleges.  In 1953, amid the much publicized controversy over his work on Krebiozen, he resigned the Vice Presidency and continued as Distinguished Professor of Physiology and Head of the Department of Clinical Science at the University of Illinois.  From 1961-1966 he was Research Professor of Biochemistry at Roosevelt University and then worked at the Ivy Cancer Research Foundation.  From 1962-1976 his research was devoted exclusively to the body’s defense mechanisms against cancer.

Dr. Ivy also served as a consultant and advisor to the U.S. government and private organizations.  He was the Scientific Director at the Naval Medical Research Institute, 1942-1951.  He was a Special Consultant to the Secretary of War regarding war crimes of a medical nature at the Nuremberg trials, 1946-1947.  He also worked for the U.S. Army in the 1940s as a consultant in the Planning Division, the Research and Development Branch, and the Office of the Surgeon General, Nutrition Laboratory.

He was Executive Director of the National Advisory Cancer Council, 1947-1951 and held several committee positions for the National Research Council, 1940-1947.  While President of the American Gastroenterological Association in 1940 he engineered the founding of the AGA Journal and was its editor from 1942-1952.  He was active for the International Commission for the Prevention of Alcoholism and a co-founder and President of the National Conference of Educators to Eliminate Discrimination in Higher Education.

Dr. Ivy’s medical research covered almost every aspect of gastrointestinal physiology.  Some contributions came to be regarded as classics.  Examples include the introduction of subcutaneously transplanted organs to prove the existence of humoral mechanisms for gastric and pancreatic secretion, the discovery of the hormone cholecystokinin, the discovery of urgogastrone, and the elucidation of the effects of total gastrectomy in animals.  These and other discoveries clarified and simplified the understanding of how the stomach, pancreas, liver, and intestine secrete digestive enzymes.  Dr. Ivy wrote over 1500 scientific articles, mostly in the field of gastroenterology.  In addition to his articles he wrote two books, Peptic Ulcer in 1950 and Observations on Krebiozen in the Management of Cancer in 1956.

The A. C. Ivy papers, 1799-1984, contain extensive subject and legal files regarding the controversial drug krebiozen.  The public furor over the distribution of the drug is fully documented by correspondence, newspaper clippings, and legal documents.  The patient and physician records contain useful information about the use of krebiozen in treating patients with a prognosis of terminal cancer.  The papers regarding the Ivy Cancer Research Foundation document support for a test (by the Food and Drug Administration) of krebiozen.  There are also files that show A. C. Ivy’s long career in medical research concerning the gastrointestinal tract, his campaign to prevent abuse of alcohol, and his research for the Armed Services during World War II.

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1 Response to A.C. Ivy Papers Document Medical History and Cancer Research

  1. Thank you for this information. When I googled Dr. Ivy’s name, the top results were articles from well-known newspaper articles which focused almost exclusively on his work with Krebiozen and the word ‘Quack’ is often used. It paints a tainted image of a man who was very successful in his field.

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