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Chapter 12 : Paul Ehrlich and the Magic Bullet

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Abstract:

The link between the development of dyes and therapy for infectious diseases is a curious one. Paul Ehrlich is found right in the middle of it. To understand this connection, one has to go back to the origin of the European dye industry and then to the life of Paul Ehrlich and his early theories. After several years in his position in Berlin, Ehrlich attended a meeting of the Physiological Society of Berlin in 1882. It was at this sensational event that Robert Koch announced his discovery of the tubercle bacillus. Modern therapy for infectious diseases did not begin with penicillin, sulfa drugs, or even chemical/drug therapies. It started with a serum treatment for diphtheria. Phagocytosis finding led to the concept of cellular immunity. Ehrlich’s quantitative approach to standardizing the diphtheria antitoxin had a lasting effect. Ehrlich determined the maximal tolerated dose and its activity against syphilis in animals and then humans. While its activity was not as great as that of Salvarsan, compound 914, or Neosalvarsan, as it became known, was more soluble and much easier to produce and handle. To be sure, Neosalvarsan was an effective treatment for human syphilis.

Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Paul Ehrlich and the Magic Bullet, p 235-263. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch12

Key Concept Ranking

Infectious Diseases
0.56590813
White Blood Cells
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Chemicals
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Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Paul Ehrlich and the Magic Bullet, p 235-263. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch12
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Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Paul Ehrlich and the Magic Bullet, p 235-263. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch12
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Figure 1.

Paul Ehrlich (left) and Sahachiro Hata (right). Courtesy of the National Library of Medicine. 10.1128/9781555817220.ch12.f1

Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Paul Ehrlich and the Magic Bullet, p 235-263. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch12
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Figure 2.

(Left) Before treatment of syphilis. (Right) After successful treatment of syphilis with Neosalvarsan, 1915. Used with permission of the Mütter Museum of the College of Physicians of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA. 10.1128/9781555817220.ch12.f2

Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Paul Ehrlich and the Magic Bullet, p 235-263. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch12
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References

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1. Burnet, F. M. 1957. A modification of Jerne’s theory of antibody production using the concept of clonal selection. Aust. J. Sci. 20:67.
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4. Jaramillo-Arango, J. 1949. A critical review of the basic facts in the history of Cinchona. J. Linnaean Soc. 53:12721309.
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8. Marquardt, M. 1951. Paul Ehrlich, p. 1318. Henry Schuman, New York, NY.
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11. Marquardt, M. 1951. Paul Ehrlich, p. 6576. Henry Schuman, New York, NY.
12. Marquardt, M. 1951. Paul Ehrlich, p. 163175. Henry Schuman, New York, NY.
13. Marquardt, M. 1951. Paul Ehrlich, p. 188194. Henry Schuman, New York, NY.
14. Marquardt, M. 1951. Paul Ehrlich, p. 195206. Henry Schuman, New York, NY.
15. Nobelprize.org. 31 October 2010. Paul Ehrlich—Nobel Lecture. Nobelprize.org. http://nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/1908/ehrlich-lecture.html.
16. Sherman, I. W. 2007. Twelve Diseases That Changed Our World, p. 83103. ASM Press, Washington, DC.
17. Silverstein, A. M. 1999. Paul Ehrlich’s passion: the origins of his receptor immunology. Cell. Immunol. 194:213221.
18. Winau, F., and, R. Winau. 2002. Emil von Behring and serum therapy. Microbes Infect. 4:185188.

Tables

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Table 1.

Some early recipients of the Nobel Prize

Citation: Gaynes R. 2011. Paul Ehrlich and the Magic Bullet, p 235-263. In Germ Theory. ASM Press, Washington, DC. doi: 10.1128/9781555817220.ch12

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