Cell Discovery

I am writing to send some news that may interest Deerfield.
I discovered 2 new “white” cells in the immune system while a
Professor of Surgery at the University of Minnesota. I named these
2 cells M1 and M2 because they are macrophages. This discovery
followed from findings I had made several years earlier while a
Professor at Brown University while trying to determine why a
macrophage (which means “big eater”) could seemingly both fight
infections, or, help heal wounds ­ 2 very different functions. I
found that 2 different types of macrophages were actually responsible
for these different activities. In particular, M1 produced killer
molecules while M2 macrophages produced molecules that promoted
repair and cell proliferation. The discovery of M1/
M2 was published in 2000 (Mills, et al. M-1/M-2 Macrophages and the
Th1/Th2 Paradigm. Journal of Immunology. 164:6166). Not unlike a
painting that initially doesn¹t sell, it took some time for M1/M2 to
“sell” ­ for medical research to recognize its impact. It now has.
My 2000 Journal of Immunology Paper is one of the most highly cited
papers in medicine in the last decade. Which translates to it being
a major discovery. One of the most important areas where
M1/M2 has had an impact is cancer. In particular, cancer cells
require help to form tumors (to grow). And, instead of fighting
cancer, the immune system actually promotes cancer growth. The
reason is that cancer cells keep macrophages in “M2” mode so they
will produce molecules that promote proliferation ­ much like they do
in helping a wound heal.

I cannot say that my scientific success specifically occurred
because I went to Deerfield (Class of ’70). However, my one year
there was influential for the quality and diversity of talented
people I became acquainted with. So, I am writing if it can be of
help to Deerfield students (or alumni) because I do believe that
medical research/medicine is critical to solving many modern disease
problems.

My family is no stranger to Deerfield. My father (Robert ’33), and
brothers (Curt ’60 and Doug ’63) all attended. As a sidebar, as a
‘PG’, I helped Deerfield to one of its most successful basketball
seasons ever (only one loss, away at Worcester).

My brother, Doug, will be there for his 50th Reunion this year.
My 40th Reunion in 2010 was a great time. You may recall the girl on
our dorm. ’70 Still Rocks’. I brought that.

Charlie Mills

Class of 1970

Frequently Asked Questions

Upon graduating from Deerfield, alumni enter a diverse network of former Deerfield students. Deerfield alumni have ventured into almost every area of employment, and many are at the top of their respective fields. The advantages of this vast network are numerous and significant, as every member of the Deerfield family receives the following:

Alumni are also eligible for alumni awards, such as the Ashley Award, Heritage Award, and the Mimi Morsman Award.

There are no membership fees or dues for members of the Deerfield family, but Deerfield does ask for assistance in a few areas. First of all, in order for Deerfield to have the most up-to-date records possible, we encourage members to keep us apprised of their current contact info. Alumni are also urged to direct all concerns and suggestions regarding Deerfield’s operations through the Executive Committee, the governing body of the Alumni Association. The committee acts as the voice of the alumni body, and works closely with the school administration. In order to keep tuition affordable and the quality of a Deerfield education at its highest, the Academy depends upon the continuing support of alumni and their families. This support can take the form of annual or capital gifts, or time spent volunteering on behalf of Deerfield.

There are Deerfield Clubs in many major American cities. Please visit here for more information on specific clubs and their sponsored events. 

Of course! Be sure to read the latest issue of From Albany Road in your email’s in-box for current news of what is happening on campus. As we also send out periodic invitations, it’s always best to make sure we have your current physical address. And if you do plan on visiting campus, why not tell us ahead of time?

Contact the Office of Advancement

alumni@deerfield.edu
413-774-1474

7 Boyden Lane, PO Box 306
Deerfield, MA 01342