The first sulfa drug to be discovered. Largely of historic interest today.
The discovery was made by the great German physician and chemist Gerhard Domagk (1895-1964). In 1925 Domagk was named Lecturer in Pathologic Anatomy (pathology) in the University of Munster (where he spend most of his long career). However, from 1927 to 1929 he was given leave of absence from the University to do research in the laboratories of the I.G. Farbenindustrie (Bayer) at Wuppertal. There, in 1932, Domagk found that a red dye-stuff, to which the name “prontosil rubrum” was given, protected mice and rabbits against lethal doses of staphylococci (staph) and streptococci (strep). Prontosil was a derivative of sulphanilamide.
Domagk was not satisfied that prontosil, so effective in mice, would be equally effective in humans, but it so happened that his own daughter Hildegarde contracted a deadly streptococcal infection from a needle prick and Domagk, in desperation, gave her a dose of prontosil. She made a complete recovery.
Domagk waited to publish his discovery of the antibacterial nature of prontosil until 1935 when data were available from clinicians who had tested the new drug on patients. During the years that followed, much work was done on this class of antibacterial compounds and some thousands of derivatives of sulphanilamide were produced and tested for their antibacterial properties.
Domagk’s work earned him the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1939 “for the discovery of the antibacterial effects of prontosil.” However, the Nazis forced him to decline the honor. The Nobel rules require that the money be returned to the Nobel Foundation if the prize is not accepted after a year. After the war, in 1947 Domagk was given the Nobel gold medal but not the money.
- Prophase chromosome
A chromosome at the prophase stage in the cell cycle, before metaphase (when a chromosome is most highly condensed). The chromosomes in prophase are distended and often tangled like a ball of twine within the nucleus of the cell. However, when fine chromosomal details are important, prophase chromosomes are frequently selected for high resolution chromosome […]
A cell nucleus with a haploid set of chromosomes (23 chromosomes in humans) resulting from meiosis (germ-cell division). The male pronucleus is the sperm nucleus after it has entered the ovum at fertilization but before fusion with the female pronucleus. Similarly, the female pronucleus is the nucleus of the ovum before fusion with the male […]
A preventive measure. The word comes from the Greek for “an advance guard,” an apt term for a measure taken to fend off a disease or another unwanted consequence. A prophylactic is a medication or a treatment designed and used to prevent a disease from occurring. For example, prophylactic antibiotics may be used after a […]
- Prophylactic cranial irradiation
Radiation therapy to the head that is intended to prevent cancer from spreading to the brain.
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