Annual Meeting Spotlight: From Chemical Weapons to Chemotherapy


By the end of World War I, the use of chemical weapons had resulted in over 1,000,000 casualties on both sides, including many disabled and wounded. Through a series of unintended events, these chemical weapons set in motion discoveries that led to the development of chemotherapy. Following the war, medical researchers noticed that mustard gas destroyed lymphatic tissue and bone marrow, leading them to experiment with applying nitrogen mustard, a derivative of mustard gas, to shrink tumors in mice. By the beginning of World War II in the early 1940s, the first therapeutic experiments with the intravenous use of mustard agents were conducted in patients with cancer, providing temporary benefit. Several drugs derived from mustard agents are still used today to treat certain forms of cancer.

Matthew Naylor, PhD, president and CEO of the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City, MO, will describe these discoveries and their impact on modern cancer treatment during the opening keynote at the 2022 AACI/CCAF Annual Meeting. The presentation is scheduled for 1:30 pm central time on Sunday, October 2. That evening, AACI will host a welcome reception at the WWI museum and memorial, beginning at 6:00 pm central. 

A native of Australia with more than 30 years of nonprofit leadership experience, Dr. Naylor began his tenure at the museum and memorial in June 2013. In 2018, Dr. Naylor was named Nonprofit PRO "Executive of the Year" and in 2019, Ingram’s Magazine included him on its "50 Missourians You Should Know" list. He serves on boards and committees for several civic and educational initiatives, including the advisory council for the Kansas City Economic Development Corporation, the advisory board for the National Stars and Stripes Museum, and the board of the Institute for Sustainable Philanthropy.

Registration is now open for the meeting, October 2-4, at the InterContinental at the Plaza, Kansas City.

View the Meeting Program and Register