Emil von Behring

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Emil von Behring
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Emil Adolf von Behring
Born
Adolf Emil Behring

(1854-03-15)15 March 1854
Hansdorf, Kreis Rosenberg Prussia
(now Poland)
Died31 March 1917(1917-03-31) (aged 63)
Nationality German
Known forDiphtheria antitoxin/serum
Awards Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (1901)
Scientific career
Fields Physiology, immunology
Notable students Hans Schlossberger

Emil von Behring (Emil Adolf von Behring), born as Emil Adolf Behring (15 March 1854 – 31 March 1917), was a German physiologist who received the 1901 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the first one awarded, for his discovery of a diphtheria antitoxin. He was widely known as a "saviour of children," as diphtheria used to be a major cause of child death. [1] He was honored with Prussian nobility in 1901, henceforth being known by the surname "von Behring."

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine One of five Nobel Prizes established in 1895 by Alfred Nobel

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded yearly by the Nobel Foundation for outstanding discoveries in the fields of life sciences and medicine.

Diphtheria infectious disease

Diphtheria is an infection caused by the bacterium Corynebacterium diphtheriae. Signs and symptoms may vary from mild to severe. They usually start two to five days after exposure. Symptoms often come on fairly gradually, beginning with a sore throat and fever. In severe cases, a grey or white patch develops in the throat. This can block the airway and create a barking cough as in croup. The neck may swell in part due to enlarged lymph nodes. A form of diphtheria which involves the skin, eyes, or genitals also exists. Complications may include myocarditis, inflammation of nerves, kidney problems, and bleeding problems due to low levels of platelets. Myocarditis may result in an abnormal heart rate and inflammation of the nerves may result in paralysis.

Contents

Biography

Behring was born in Hansdorf, Kreis Rosenberg, Province of Prussia (now Ławice, Iława County, Poland). His father was a schoolmaster; the family had 13 children.

Province of Prussia province of Prussia

The Province of Prussia was a province of Prussia from 1829 to 1878. Prussia was established as a province of the Kingdom of Prussia in 1829 from the provinces of East Prussia and West Prussia, and was dissolved in 1878 when the merger was reversed.

Ławice Village in Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland

Ławice is a village in the administrative district of Gmina Iława, within Iława County, Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, in northern Poland. It lies approximately 7 kilometres (4 mi) east of Iława and 59 km (37 mi) west of the regional capital Olsztyn.

Iława County County in Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, Poland

Iława County is a unit of territorial administration and local government (powiat) in Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship, northern Poland. It came into being on January 1, 1999, as a result of the Polish local government reforms passed in 1998. Its administrative seat and largest town is Iława, which lies 65 kilometres (40 mi) west of the regional capital Olsztyn. The county contains four other towns: Lubawa, 34 km (21 mi) south of Iława, Susz, 21 km (13 mi) north-west of Iława, Kisielice, 21 km (13 mi) west of Iława, and Zalewo, 28 km (17 mi) north of Iława.

Between 1874 and 1878, he studied medicine at the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Akademie in Berlin, an academy for military doctors, since his family could not afford the university. [2] As a military doctor, he studied the action of iodoform. In 1888, he became an assistant at the institute of Robert Koch in Berlin.

Berlin Capital of Germany

Berlin is the capital and largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3,748,148 (2018) inhabitants make it the second most populous city proper of the European Union after London. The city is one of Germany's 16 federal states. It is surrounded by the state of Brandenburg, and contiguous with Potsdam, Brandenburg's capital. The two cities are at the center of the Berlin-Brandenburg capital region, which is, with about six million inhabitants and an area of more than 30,000 km², Germany's third-largest metropolitan region after the Rhine-Ruhr and Rhine-Main regions.

Iodoform (also known as triiodomethane and carbon triiodide) is the organoiodine compound with the formula CHI3. A pale yellow, crystalline, volatile substance, it has a penetrating and distinctive odor (in older chemistry texts, the smell is sometimes referred to as the smell of hospitals, where the compound is still commonly used) and, analogous to chloroform, sweetish taste. It is occasionally used as a disinfectant.

Robert Koch 19th and 20th-century German physician and bacteriologist

Heinrich Hermann Robert Koch was a German physician and microbiologist. As one of the main founders of modern bacteriology, he identified the specific causative agents of tuberculosis, cholera, and anthrax and gave experimental support for the concept of infectious disease, which included experiments on humans and other animals. Koch created and improved laboratory technologies and techniques in the field of microbiology, and made key discoveries in public health. His research led to the creation of Koch's postulates, a series of four generalized principles linking specific microorganisms to specific diseases that remain today the "gold standard" in medical microbiology. For his research on tuberculosis, Koch received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1905. The Robert Koch Institute is named in his honour.

In 1890 he published an article with Kitasato Shibasaburō reporting that they had developed "antitoxins" against both diphtheria and tetanus. They had injected diphtheria and tetanus toxins into guinea-pigs, goats and horses; when these animals developed immunity, they derived antitoxins (now known to consist of antibodies) from their serum. These antitoxins could protect against and cure the diseases in non-immunized animals. In 1892 he started the first human trials of the diphtheria antitoxin, but they were unsuccessful. Successful treatment started in 1894, after the production and quantification of antitoxin had been optimized. [3]

Kitasato Shibasaburō Japanese scientist

Baron Kitasato Shibasaburō was a Japanese physician and bacteriologist. He is remembered as the co-discoverer of the infectious agent of bubonic plague in Hong Kong in 1894, almost simultaneously with Alexandre Yersin.

Tetanus A serious infectious disorder that follows wound contamination by the Gram-positive bacterium Clostridium tetani. The bacteria produce a neurotoxin called tetanospasmin, which causes muscle spasm in the jaw and other anatomic sites.

Tetanus, also known as lockjaw, is a bacterial infection characterized by muscle spasms. In the most common type, the spasms begin in the jaw and then progress to the rest of the body. Each spasm usually lasts a few minutes and spasms occur frequently for three to four weeks. Spasms may be severe enough to cause bone fractures. Other symptoms of tetanus may include fever, sweating, headache, trouble swallowing, high blood pressure, and a fast heart rate. Onset of symptoms is typically three to twenty-one days following infection. Recovery may take months. About ten percent of cases prove fatal.

Serum (blood) cell free fraction of blood

In blood, the serum is the fluid and solute component of blood after clotting. It is neither a blood cell, nor a clotting factor; it is the blood plasma not including the fibrinogens. Serum includes all proteins not used in blood clotting and all the electrolytes, antibodies, antigens, hormones, and any exogenous substances.

In 1895 he became Professor of Hygienics within the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Marburg, a position he would hold for the rest of his life. He and the pharmacologist Hans Horst Meyer had their laboratories in the same building, and Behring stimulated Meyer's interest in the mode of action of tetanus toxin. [4]

University of Marburg German university

The Philipps University of Marburg was founded in 1527 by Philip I, Landgrave of Hesse, which makes it one of Germany's oldest universities and the oldest still operating Protestant university in the world. It is now a public university of the state of Hesse, without religious affiliation. The University of Marburg has about 25,000 students and 7,500 employees and is located in Marburg, a town of 72,000 inhabitants, with university buildings dotted in or around the town centre. About 12 per cent of the students are international, the highest percentage in Hesse. It offers an International summer university programme and offers student exchanges through the Erasmus programme.

Hans Horst Meyer German pharmacologist

Hans Horst Meyer was a German pharmacologist. He studied medicine and did research in pharmacology. The Meyer-Overton hypothesis on the mode of action on general anaesthetics is partially named after him. He also discovered the importance of glucuronic acid as a reaction partner for drugs, and the mode of action of tetanus toxin on the body.

Behring won the first Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1901 for the development of serum therapies against diphtheria. He was elected a Foreign Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1902. [5]

Antiserum is human or nonhuman blood serum containing monoclonal or polyclonal antibodies that is used to spread passive immunity to many diseases. For example, convalescent serum, passive antibody transfusion from a previous human survivor, used to be the only known effective treatment for Ebola infection but with a poor success rate.

American Academy of Arts and Sciences United States honorary society and center for independent policy research

The American Academy of Arts and Sciences is one of the oldest learned societies in the United States. Founded in 1780, the Academy is dedicated to honoring excellence and leadership, working across disciplines and divides, and advancing the common good.

In 1904 he founded the Behringwerke in Marburg, a company to produced antitoxins and vaccines.

At the International Tuberculosis Congress in 1905 he announced that he had discovered "a substance proceeding from the virus of tuberculosis." This substance, which he designated "T C," plays the important part in the immunizing action of his "bovivaccine", which prevents bovine tuberculosis. He tried unsuccessfully to obtain a protective and therapeutic agents for humans. [6]

Laboratory of 1913 in the Wannkopfstrasse in Marburg Behring-Route (Marburg) - Wannkopfstrasse (1).jpg
Laboratory of 1913 in the Wannkopfstraße in Marburg

Behring died at Marburg, Hessen-Nassau, on 31 March 1917. His name survived in the Dade Behring organisation (now part of the Siemens Heathineers), in CSL Behring, a manufacturer of plasma-derived biotherapies, in Novartis Behring and in the Emil von Behring Prize of the University of Marburg, the highest endowed medicine award in Germany.

His Nobel Prize medal is now kept on display at the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum in Geneva.

Controversy

Von Behring is believed to have cheated Paul Ehrlich out of recognition and financial reward in relation to collaborative research in diphtheria. The two men developed a diphtheria serum by repeatedly injecting the deadly toxin into a horse. The serum was used effectively during an epidemic in Germany. A chemical company preparing to undertake commercial production and marketing of the diphtheria serum offered a contract to both men, but von Behring maneuvered to claim all the considerable financial rewards for himself. To add insult to injury, only Behring received the first Nobel Prize in Medicine, in 1901, for his contributions. [7] However, Ehrlich would go on to win the 1908 Nobel Prize in Medicine for his contribution to immunology. [8]

Villa Behring (burgundy) on Capri Villa Behring on Capri.jpg
Villa Behring (burgundy) on Capri
Behring mausoleum in Marburg Behring-Mausoleum (05).jpg
Behring mausoleum in Marburg

Personal life

In December, 29th, 1896, Behring married the then twenty-year-old Else Spinola (1876-1936), who was a daughter of Bernhard Spinola, the director of the Charité hospital in Berlin, and a Jewish-born mother - Elise Spinola, born Bendix - who had converted to Christianity upon her marriage. [9] They had six sons. They held their honeymoon at villa "Behring" on Capri 1897, where Behring owned a vacation home. In 1909–1911, the Russian writer Maxim Gorky lived at this villa.

Publications

See also

Related Research Articles

Paul Ehrlich German biologist

Paul Ehrlich was a Nobel prize-winning German-Jewish physician and scientist who worked in the fields of hematology, immunology, and antimicrobial chemotherapy. He is credited with finding a cure for syphilis in 1909. He invented the precursor technique to Gram staining bacteria. The methods he developed for staining tissue made it possible to distinguish between different types of blood cells, which led to the capability to diagnose numerous blood diseases.

Humoral immunity or humoural immunity is the aspect of immunity that is mediated by macromolecules found in extracellular fluids such as secreted antibodies, complement proteins, and certain antimicrobial peptides. Humoral immunity is so named because it involves substances found in the humors, or body fluids. It contrasts with cell-mediated immunity. Its aspects involving antibodies are often called antibody-mediated immunity.

Antitoxin

An antitoxin is an antibody with the ability to neutralize a specific toxin. Antitoxins are produced by certain animals, plants, and bacteria in response to toxin exposure. Although they are most effective in neutralizing toxins, they can also kill bacteria and other microorganisms. Antitoxins are made within organisms, and can be injected into other organisms, including humans, to treat an infectious disease. This procedure involves injecting an animal with a safe amount of a particular toxin. The animal's body then makes the antitoxin needed to neutralize the toxin. Later, blood is withdrawn from the animal. When the antitoxin is obtained from the blood, it is purified and injected into a human or other animal, inducing temporary passive immunity. To prevent serum sickness, it is often best to use an antitoxin obtained from the same species.

Pierre Paul Émile Roux French physician

Pierre Paul Émile Roux FRS was a French physician, bacteriologist and immunologist. Roux was one of the closest collaborators of Louis Pasteur (1822–1895), a co-founder of the Pasteur Institute, and responsible for the Institute's production of the anti-diphtheria serum, the first effective therapy for this disease.

Pasteur Institute organization

The Pasteur Institute is a French non-profit private foundation dedicated to the study of biology, micro-organisms, diseases, and vaccines. It is named after Louis Pasteur, who made some of the greatest breakthroughs in modern medicine at the time, including pasteurization and vaccines for anthrax and rabies. The institute was founded on June 4, 1887, and inaugurated on November 14, 1888.

Gaston Ramon French biologist

Gaston Ramon was a French veterinarian and biologist best known for his role in the treatment of diphtheria and tetanus.

Jim (horse) horse

"Jim" was the name of a former milk wagon horse, who was used to produce serum containing diphtheria antitoxin. Jim produced over 30 quarts of diphtheria antitoxin in his career. However, on October 2, 1901, Jim showed signs that he had contracted tetanus and was euthanized. After the death of a girl in St. Louis was traced back to Jim's contaminated serum, it was discovered that serum dated September 30 contained tetanus in its incubation phase. This contamination could have easily been discovered if the serum had been tested prior to its use. Furthermore, samples from September 30 had also been used to fill bottles labeled "August 24," while actual samples from the 24th were shown to be free of contamination.

Passive immunity is the transfer of active humoral immunity of ready-made antibodies. Passive immunity can occur naturally, when maternal antibodies are transferred to the fetus through the placenta, and it can also be induced artificially, when high levels of antibodies specific to a pathogen or toxin are transferred to non-immune persons through blood products that contain antibodies, such as in immunoglobulin therapy or antiserum therapy. Passive immunization is used when there is a high risk of infection and insufficient time for the body to develop its own immune response, or to reduce the symptoms of ongoing or immunosuppressive diseases. Passive immunization can be provided when people cannot synthesize antibodies, and when they have been exposed to a disease that they do not have immunity against.

CSL Behring company

CSL Behring is a biopharmaceutical company, manufacturing plasma-derived and recombinant therapeutic products. Its line of therapies includes products for the treatment of bleeding disorders such as hemophilia and von Willebrand Disease; primary immune deficiencies (PIDD); hereditary angioedema; inherited respiratory disease; and neurological disorders in certain markets. The company's products are also used in cardiac surgery, organ transplantation, burn treatment and to prevent hemolytic diseases in the newborn.

Arthur Meyer (1850–1922) was a German botanist, cell biologist, and pharmacognosist. Meyer is known for his pioneering work describing the structure of chloroplasts and other plastids. He was the first to name and describe the chlorophyll-containing structures in chloroplasts known as grana.

Paul Uhlenhuth German bacteriologist

Paul Theodor Uhlenhuth was a German bacteriologist and immunologist, and Professor at the University of Strasbourg (1911–1918), at the University of Marburg (1918–1923) and at the University of Freiburg (1923–1936). He was rector of the University of Freiburg 1928–1929. After his retirement in 1936, he led his own research institute in Freiburg, known as the State Research Laboratory, until his death in 1957.

Hans Schlossberger German physician

Hans Otto Friedrich Schlossberger was a German physician, who was known for his research in immunology, medical microbiology, epidemiology and antimicrobial chemotherapy, especially on syphilis, typhus, gas gangrene, diphtheria, erysipeloid of Rosenbach, tuberculosis, malaria and leptospirosis. He was one of the leading immunologists and bacteriologists of Germany during his lifetime, and was a student and collaborator of the Nobel laureates Paul Ehrlich and Emil von Behring, two of the principal founders of the field of immunology.

Hans Aronson was a German pediatrician and bacteriologist. The Aronson Prize in microbiology and immunology was established by his will and has been awarded since 1921. Since 1970, the prize is awarded by the Senate of Berlin.

The magic bullet is a scientific concept developed by a German Nobel laureate Paul Ehrlich in 1900. While working at the Institute of Experimental Therapy, Ehrlich formed an idea that it could be possible to kill specific microbes, which cause diseases in the body, without harming the body itself. He named the hypothetical agent as Zauberkugel, the magic bullet. He envisioned that just like a bullet fired from a gun to hit a specific target, there could be a way to specifically target invading microbes. His continued research to discover the magic bullet resulted in further knowledge of the functions of the body's immune system, and in the development of Salvarsan, the first effective drug for syphilis, in 1909. His works were the foundation of immunology, and for his contributions he shared the 1908 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Élie Metchnikoff.

<i>Charité</i> (TV series) television series

Charité is a German television drama. The first season was directed by Sönke Wortmann, and was written by Grimme-Preis winner Dorothee Schön and Sabine Thor-Wiedemann. The season is set during 1888 and the years following at Berlin's Charité hospital. The series premiered on 21 March 2017 on the German channel Das Erste, and has been distributed in the USA on Netflix since April 2018.

References

  1. The Immune System: In Defence of our Lives, nobelprize.org
  2. "Emil von Behring - Biographical". www.nobelprize.org. Retrieved 2018-07-23.
  3. Kaufmann, Stefan H. E. (2017-03-08). "Remembering Emil von Behring: from Tetanus Treatment to Antibody Cooperation with Phagocytes". mBio. 8 (1): e00117–17. doi:10.1128/mbio.00117-17. PMID   28246359.
  4. Legrum, Wolfgang; Al-Toma, Adnan J.; Netter, Karl J. (1992). 125 Jahre Pharmakologisches Institut der Philipps-Universität Marburg. Marburg: N. G. Elwert Verlag. ISBN   3770809858.
  5. "Book of Members, 1780–2010: Chapter B" (PDF). American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  6. Emil von Behring Serum Therapy in Therapeutics and Medical Science. Nobel Lecture, December 12, 1901. nobelprize.org
  7. Morton A. Meyers, M.D. (2007). Happy Accidents: Serendipity in Modern Medical Breakthroughs.
  8. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/1908/ehrlich/biographical/
  9. Derek S. Linton, Emil von Behring: Infectious Disease, Immunology, Serum Therapy, American Philosophical Society, 2005, p. 198