When President Richard Nixon signed the National Cancer Act 50 years ago, the goal was nothing short of eradicating cancer. By launching the nation’s “War on Cancer,” the act dramatically increased funding for research. Importantly, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) was named one of the three original comprehensive cancer centers in the country.

For more than 137 years, MSK has made historic contributions driving discovery and improving patient care. MSK has a deep history of cancer research that has continually advanced the field and provided new and powerful ways for the institution — and the wider cancer community — to diagnose and treat cancer. Driving the effort is one of the world’s most dynamic programs of cancer research, with more than 100 research laboratories focused on better understanding the many types of cancer and the biology underlying them.

As we prepare to celebrate the act’s anniversary on December 23, we reflect on MSK’s legacy of advancing cancer research and patient care. Our new interactive timeline, available here, highlights just some of MSK’s most significant contributions in the past half-century, laying the foundation for many more to come.

To learn more, go to MSK’s interactive timeline.