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Museum of DisABILITY History

Western New York Connections

Newborn screening was born in Western New York. As the map shown below indicates, at least three milestones of historical significance were met in Western New York.

1. Children's Hospital, Buffalo, NY.

In 1958, while Dr. Guthrie was employed at Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo, Dr. Robert Warner, the founding medical director of the Children's Hospital Rehabilitation Center there, proposed that he devise a simpler method for measuring blood phenylalanine. So began Dr. Guthrie's phenomenal research in this area and the development of the Guthrie Test.

2. Association for Retarded Children, Jamestown, NY.

In 1961, Dr. Guthrie gave a talk about PKU at the Association for Retarded Children in Jamestown, NY. Later that year, newborn screening got its start as two Jamestown hospitals begin sending filter paper specimens of blood from newborn infants.

3. Niagara County, N.Y.

In 1962, the first infant with PKU was detected using techniques developed by The Guthrie Test. This took place in Niagara County after 800 infants had been screened.

With the achievement of these three milestones, all occurring in Western New York, newborn screening was ready to expand across the county and around the globe as one of the most dramatic preventative discoveries of the 20th century.