Dr. Morton developed the sentinel node biopsy technique. In the past, surgeons would remove all lymph nodes surrounding a cancerous tumor to see if a tumor has spread. Because of Dr. Morton's sentinel node discovery, doctors now inject a radioactive dye near the tumor, which illuminates the drainage pathway of the tumor and tracks the primary or sentinel drainage node. The sentinel node concept, used in melanoma, breast and other cancers, saves the U.S. health care system over $3.8 billion a year and countless unnecessary operations and suffering for patients.
He was Chief of General Surgery and Chief of the Division of Surgical Oncology at UCLA before he established the John Wayne Cancer Institute at Saint John's Health Center in Santa Monica in 1991
He passed away in 2014