CME INDIA Presentation by ⚜ Dr. M. Gowri Sankar, MD, Senior Assistant Professor, Dept. of General Medicine, Government Medical College and ESI Hospital, Coimbatore.

Today’s History Feature:

Dr. Paul Ehrlich

(1854 -1915)

💠German Physician
💠Pioneer in Bacteriology, Haematology & Immunology

His contributions…

🔸Ehrlich studied medicine at the Universities of Strasbourg, Freiburg, Breslau and Leipzig.
🔸When he was in Breslau, Ehrlich got an opportunity to work in his cousin’s laboratory. His cousin was a pathologist who used aniline dyes for staining tissues. Thereby, he became very interested in dyes from student life.
🔸Based on his new cell staining technique by using dyes, he described the blood cells of neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes, erythrocytes and reticulocytes.
🔸While doing his doctoral thesis, he also described his new discovery of the cell called mast cells.
🔸After his medical graduation in 1878, he started working at Charity Hospital in Berlin.
🔸Soon after the announcement of the discovery of tubercle bacilli by Dr. Robert Koch, Dr. Ehrlich started focusing on Acid Fast Staining of tubercle bacillus and developed the same.
🔸Sadly, Dr. Ehrlich contracted tuberculosis in his laboratory. Then, he himself discovered the tubercle bacilli in his own sputum by his acid fast staining method.
🔸Later, his method underwent some modifications by German researchers Franz Ziehl and Friedich Neelsen and was termed Ziehl-Neelsen staining method.
🔸After his recovery from illness, Dr. Ehrlich collaborated with Dr. Von Bering in Dr. Koch’s Institute for Infectious Diseases and created an important breakthrough by developing Diptheria and Tetanus Anti-toxin in 1890.
🔸Simultaneously, he started his own laboratory and focused on his experiments by using various chemical agents to treat syphilis and tuberculosis.
🔸Eventually, Dr. Ehrlich was recognized for his immense work and promoted as the Director of the Royal Prussian Institute for Experimental Therapy in Frankfurt.
🔸Dr. Ehrlich pioneered ideas in chemotherapy by doing his experiments using dyes for therapeutic properties against the diseases.
🔸In fact, he and his colleagues failed 605 times for four years to arrive at Arsphenamine compound, which is derived from arsenic dye.
🔸Initially, he named it as compound 606 and marketed the drug under the name Salvarsan, the first effective drug to treat Syphilis.
🔸He also called the drug salvarsan as a Magic Bullet. By his further experiments, he achieved promising results against malaria parasites by using methylene blue dye.
🔸Further, he coined the term chemotherapy. In fact, his achievements won him the recognition – Father of Chemotherapy.
🔸Moreover, he was the first to detect Bilirubin in urine of jaundiced patient by using Diazo reaction (Ehrlich reagent).
🔸Ultimately, Dr. Paul Ehrlich was honoured with the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1908, jointly with Dr. Metchnikoff who established the concept of cell mediated immunity. Hence, both the men are considered the founders of immunology.
🔸In order to commend Dr. Paul Ehrlich, 5 species of bacteria within the genus Ehrlichia are named in his honour. Ehrlichia chaffeenis and ewingii are the two species of Ehrlichia known to infect humans and named as Ehrlichiosis.
🔸Finally, Dr. Paul Ehrlich dedicated his whole life to the progress of medical science, which helped in the establishment and development of various disciplines such as histology, immunology, oncology and haematology.
🔸”Salvarsan was the magnificent origin of bacterial chemotherapy and it was what sparked my interest in that branch of science” – Sir Alexender Fleming.

The Scientist who Paved the Path for the Development of Antibiotics

Dr. Paul Ehrlich🙏🏼

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