3 Popular Doctors who Changed the World
The preservation and restoration of health are integral parts of any healthy and well-functioning society. We would like to take a moment and to honor physicians for what they do to preserve and restore health and well-being for their patients, their communities, and for society as a whole.
This is just a small list of 3 popular doctors that really changed the world we know.
Edward Jenner, MD, FRS, FRCPE: Discovered vaccinations
Born in May 17, 1749, in Berkeley, Gloucestershire, Edward Jenner was an English physician/scientist who pioneered the world’s first vaccine, which he developed for smallpox.
Often called the “father of immunology,” Dr. Jenner and his work were said to have “saved more lives than the work of any other human.” Indeed, during his time, smallpox was responsible for the deaths of roughly 10% to 20% of the population. By 1979, smallpox was declared eradicated from the world by the World Health Organization.
Sir Alexander Fleming, MD: Discovered penicillin
Born in Ayrshire, Scotland, on August 6, 1881, Sir Alexander Fleming served in World War I as a captain in the Army Medical Corps.
Dr. Fleming had a special interest in the natural bactericidal characteristics of antiseptics and of blood. In 1921, he discovered the bacteriolytic substance lysozyme in the tissue and secretions. In 1928, while studying the influenza virus, he accidentally discovered penicillin. He had left a staphylococcus culture on a plate and found that mold had developed on it. The mold created a bacteria-free circle around it. Upon studying this culture further, he found that it could prevent the growth of staphylococci, even at 800 times dilution, and was part of the Penicillium notatum family. He named it “penicillin” and the rest is history.
Georges Mathé, MD: Discovered treatment for leukemia
Georges Mathé was born on July 9, 1922, in Sermages, France. In preclinical studies of bone marrow transplantation, he demonstrated that donor cells survived and replicated only in those recipients that were first irradiated to neutralize their immune systems.
Although performing such studies in clinical trials was problematic, fate provided Dr. Mathé with a chance to prove his theories in 1958. Several Yugoslavian physicists had been exposed to radiation during a nuclear accident. Dr. Mathé infused them with donor marrow and saved all but one from radiation poisoning.
Thus, Dr. Mathé become one of the first doctors to perform a human allogeneic bone marrow transplant, essentially discovering the treatment for leukemia. In 1963, Dr. Mathé cured a patient of leukemia with a bone marrow transplant. He also later defined graft-versus-host disease, a secondary disease that often follows transplantation, by deducing that it was due to an immune reaction of the cells in the donor marrow against the autologous cells of the patient.