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Dr. Ehrlich

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Dr. Ehrlich set aim to find “magic bullets” specific substances which have specific affinities for pathogenic organisms at which they were aimed.


To achieve this, Ehrlich and his assistants tested hundreds of chemical substances. Ehrlich’s 606th preparation of an arsenobenzene compund was previously set aside in 1907 as being ineffective. But when Ehrlich asked a Japanese colleague named Hata, who had succeeded in infecting rabbits with syphilis, to test this discarded drug on these rabbits, they found that it was very effective. Thus came the birth of the first chemotherapeutic agent, later named Salvarsan.


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The impact of Dr. Ehrlich’s contribution to medicine can be best appreciated in the fact that his story was immortalized in a 1940 Warners Bros. movie entitled “Dr. Ehrlich’s Magic Bullet”.