The Wistar Institute to Unveil State Historical Marker

The Wistar Institute to Unveil State Historical Marker

November 7, 2007

(PHILADELPHIA – November 8, 2007) – The Wistar Institute will unveil a historical marker from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission at a dedication ceremony at 2 p.m. Wednesday, November 14. A blue marker outside the building at 36th and Spruce streets will indicate Wistar as a historic site. The ceremony also will commemorate the 180th birthday of Wistar founder Isaac Jones Wistar.

“This historical marker honors and celebrates Wistar’s rich history in the region,” said Wistar president and CEO Russel E. Kaufman, M.D., “The Institute has been an integral part of Philadelphia’s medical and scientific community for more than a century.”

Kaufman will make remarks at the ceremony, as will Janet Klein, a PHMC member and Wistar supporter. Descendants of the Wistar family and friends of the Institute will be present for the event, which will be followed by a champagne reception.

The text of the marker notes that Wistar was founded in 1892 and is the nation’s oldest independent biomedical research institution. It houses the Wistar and Horner medical collection and is associated with the development of many critical vaccines, as well as the famous albino Wistar rats used in medical research.

“State historical markers serve to inform people of the fascinating history of our state,” said PHMC Chairman Wayne Spilove in a news release announcing the markers approved in 2007. “Travelers seek out the markers and often use them as an opportunity to learn more about the subjects they tell about.”

Civil War general Isaac Jones Wistar founded the Wistar Institute in honor of his great-uncle, prominent Philadelphia physician Caspar Wistar, to preserve the doctor’s collection of anatomical models used as teaching aids and to further knowledge in the biological sciences.

The Wistar Institute has long held the prestigious Cancer Center designation from the National Cancer Institute. Discoveries at Wistar have led to the creation of the rubella vaccine that eradicated the disease in the United States, human rabies vaccines used worldwide, and a new rotavirus vaccine approved in 2006. Today, Wistar is home to preeminent research programs studying skin cancer, lung cancer, and brain tumors. Wistar Institute Vaccine Center scientists are creating new vaccines against pandemic influenza, HIV, and other diseases threatening global health. The Institute works actively to transfer its inventions to the commercial sector to ensure that research advances move from the laboratory to the clinic as quickly as possible. The Wistar Institute: Today’s Discoveries – Tomorrow’s Cures. On the Web at