The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center, Research Medical Library

Making Cancer History Voices Collection

Dr. Peter Mansell and Sue Cooper Interview 1, February 28, 2003

Descriptive Summary

Collection: Making Cancer History Voices Oral History Collection:
Interviewee: Mansell, Peter W. A.
Interviewee: Cooper, Sue
Interviewer: Brunet, Lesley Williams
Title: Dr. Peter Mansell and Sue Cooper Oral History Interview 1
Date: February 28, 2003
Abstract This interview with Dr. Peter Mansell and Sue Cooper begins with Dr. Mansell’s early career, then transitions to his contributions to M. D. Anderson and AIDS research. Dr. Mansell and Cooper discuss the challenges and solutions in the panicked, anti-gay environment of the early 1980s. Cooper reveals the perspective of a social worker concerned by the emotional well-being of patients and their families. Her stories complement those of Dr. Mansell.
Collection ID: OH-MansellP-20030238
Original Format: Audiocassette
Format: 1 streaming video file and 1 interview transcript
Interview Length: 2.5 hours
Language: Materials are in English
Repository: Historical Resources Center, Research Medical Library,The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center

Biographical Note

Dr. Peter W. A. Mansell pioneered AIDS research in Houston. In 1973, Dr. Mansell began researching immunostimulants, the agents that stimulate the body’s immune system. In 1975, he published in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute the beneficial role of beta-1, 3-glucan in treating cancer. Since then he has published hundreds of articles, abstracts, books and chapters on AIDS, oncology, glucans and beta glucan activity and immune system diseases. In September 1981, Dr. Mansell joined M. D. Anderson as Associate Director of Cancer Prevention. A few months after his arrival, he was faced with a peculiar case that would later be recognized as Houston’s first AIDS patient. Dr. Mansell enlisted a small team that included Sue Cooper, a social worker at M. D. Anderson. Together they spread awareness by educating the community. In 1986, the federal government awarded a $5.8 million contract to M. D. Anderson to further its research program on AIDS. At this point Dr. Mansell was Director of the AIDS Research Program and principal investigator on the contract. This contract afforded Dr. Mansell to open the Institute for Immunological Disorders in August 1986. The Institute was the first in the country devoted entirely to research and treatment of AIDS. Sue Cooper devoted herself to the new institute as the only social worker to counsel AIDS patients and their families. The Institute closed in December 1987. Dr. Mansell left M. D. Anderson in 1989.


Restrictions on Access

Portions of this interview have been redacted for privacy concerns. Please see Archivist for details.

Restrictions on Use

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Index Terms

Subjects (Persons)
Mansell, Peter W. A.
Cooper, Iva Sue
Subjects (Organizations)
Institute for Immunological Disorders (Houston (Tex.))
National Institutes of Health (U.S.)
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center -- History
University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Cancer Prevention and Detection Programs
Clinical Trials as Topic
Neoplasms -- prevention and control
Hospitals, Proprietary
Hospitals, Special -- economics
Economics, Hospital
Financing, Organized
Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome
Houston (Tex.)
Oral History

Administrative Information


Interview conducted between Dr. Peter Mansell and Sue Cooper with Lesley Brunet on February 28, 2003 in Houston, Texas.

Preferred Citation

Dr. Peter Mansell and Sue Cooper Oral History History Interview 1, February 28, 2003, Research Medical Library, The University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center.

Processing Information

Oral history was edited by Jewelry Yep, HRC Intern, February 2011



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