This chapter addresses the use of radioisotopes in medical research, where the use of human subjects raised new ethical problems. It features examples from physiology and endocrinology, where radioisotopes were used to investigate the absorption and movement of micronutrients and the regulation of hormones. The first case concerns the use of iron-59 in studies of mammalian metabolism of this element. An outgrowth of this line of research included controversial studies of iron metabolism in pregnant women that took place at Vanderbilt in the 1950s. The second case examines the development of radioimmunoassays, in which research on the clinical use of radioiodine in a Veterans Administration Hospital led Rosalyn Yalow and Solomon Berson to develop a diagnostic method with wide applicability, including in basic research.
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