MembersPaul Ehrlich

Father of Chemotherapy

By Dov Eilon |
Photo: WikiCommons

Paul Ehrlich was a German physician and researcher. Using dying methods that he himself developed, Ehrlich was able to differentiate between blood cells, in turn enabling him to diagnose blood diseases. His medical treatment of syphilis birthed the widely-used treatment of chemotherapy. In 1908, Ehrlich received the Nobel Prize, together with Russian immunologist Ilya Metchnikoff. One year later, the syphilis medication “Salvarsan” came out. In 1910, it was put on the market by Hoechst AG, a German pharmaceutical company.

Ehrlich was born on March 14, 1854 in Strehlen, near Breslau, which was then part of Prussia (Germany), but is today the city of Wroclaw in Poland. He was the second child of Jewish parents. His father was a liquor manufacturer and lottery collector. He was also the leader of the local Jewish community. Paul Ehrlich never converted to Protestantism for career purposes, as many of his Jewish colleagues did, although he did not particularly hold to Jewish customs, either.

After his medical training, Ehrlich worked as the senior physician at the Charité university hospital and medical school in Berlin. His scientific work during this...

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