Who was the first physician to use chemotherapy as a medical treatment?

Drugs and Medicines Read more from
Chapter Health and Medicine

Immunologist Jonas E. Salk (1914–1995) developed the first vaccine (made from a killed virus) against poliomyelitis and is known as the man who defeated polio. In 1952 he prepared and tested the vaccine, and in 1954 massive field tests were successfully undertaken. Two years later immunologist Albert Sabin (1906–1993) developed an oral vaccine made from inactivated live viruses of three polio strains. Currently, an inactivated polio vaccine (IPV) is given as an injection at ages 2 months, 4 months, 6 to 18 months, and a booster at 4 to 6 years.

Chemotherapy is the use of chemical substances to treat diseases, specifically malignant diseases. The drug must interfere with the growth of bacterial, parasitic, or tumor cells, without significantly affecting host cells. Especially effective in types of cancer such as leukemia and lymphoma, chemotherapy was introduced in medicine by the German physician Paul Ehrlich (1854–1915).


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