Paul Ehrlich

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Ehrlich, Paul

(poul ār`lĭkh), 1854–1915, German bacteriologist. He directed (1896) an institute for serum research at Steglitz, near Berlin, that was transferred (1899) to Frankfurt-am-Main as the Institute for Experimental Therapy. For his work in immunology he shared with Élie Metchnikoff the 1908 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. He made valuable contributions also in hematology, in cellular pathology, in the use of dyes in microscopy and in the treatment of disease, in the study of cancer, and in his discovery of salvarsan (or "606," so called from its numerical order in his experimental series) and of neosalvarsan (less toxic than salvarsan) for the treatment of syphilis.

Ehrlich, Paul


Born Mar. 14, 1854, in Strehlen, Silesia; died Aug. 20, 1915, in Hamburg. German physician, bacteriologist, chemist, and biochemist; founder of chemotherapy.

Ehrlich studied at the universities of Breslau, Strasbourg, and Leipzig. In 1878 he worked as a physician in the Charité Clinic in Berlin.

In 1887 he became a privatdocent and in 1890 an extraordinary professor at the University of Berlin. At the same time, he worked at the Institute for Infectious Diseases, directed by R. Koch. He was appointed director of the Institute for Serum Research in Steglitz in 1896. Beginning in 1899, he was director of the Institute for Experimental Therapy in Frankfurt am Main (the institute now bears his name).

Ehrlich’s main works deal with the biochemistry and chemistry of drugs, experimental pathology and therapy, and immunity. Beginning in 1901, Ehrlich worked on malignant tumors. He described various types of blood leukocytes and demonstrated the role of bone marrow and lymphoid organs in hematopoiesis. He developed methods of treating certain infectious diseases. Ehrlich was the first to show that microorganisms can acquire resistance to drugs. Together with the German scientist A. Bertheim, he developed the drug salvarsan (1907).

Ehrlich was awarded a Nobel Prize in 1908, with E. Metchnikoff.


The Collected papers. . ., vols. 1–3. London–New York, 1956–60.
In Russian translation:
Materialy k ucheniiu o khimioterapii. St. Petersburg, 1911.


Marquardt, M. Paul Ehrlich als Mensch und Arbeiter. Stuttgart, 1924.
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