Baruch Blumberg

Picture of Baruch Blumberg

Date of Birth: 07/28/1925

Age: 90

Place of birth: New York

Citizenship: United States


As he later recalled in his autobiography, "his first patient we saw only in the third year"). After the third year, at the suggestion of Professor of Parasitology Harold Brown, spends the summer in Moengo, a small mining town in the northern Suriname. During summer practice he took birth, led a reception and examined the health status of the local population. In particular, they first statistical data were obtained malaria disease.

In 1951 he graduated from college, and for two years (up to 1953) worked as a doctor-intern in Bellevue Hospital in New York. As he later recalled, it was an amazing time has not yet been widely circulated medical insurance, so patients were brought in Bellevue, belonging to low-paid sectors of the population. Hospital doctors were proud of the fact that everyone who applied to them, received the necessary assistance. Blumberg thought that it was the experience gained in Bellevue, taught him that the purpose of any scientific research should be a relief of human suffering.

From 1953 to 1955 he worked at Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center, arthritis in the department, headed by Dr. Charles A.Raganom. and simultaneously (together with Dr. Carl Meyer) studied hyaluronic acid (hyaluronic acid - a polysaccharide, which is part of the extracellular ground substance of connective tissues of vertebrates, it is contained in the vitreous body of the eye, synovial fluid, etc.). In 1955-1957 he was a postgraduate student at the Department of Biochemistry, University of Oxford (England). His doctoral thesis is dedicated to the physical and biochemical characteristics of hyaluronic acid. At Oxford, he met with Anthony Allison, who introduced him to the concept of polymorphism (polymorphism is the presence in the one kind of several morphologically distinct forms).

In 1957 he returned to the US and joined the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

In the same year, the first time went to the trip to Nigeria. There, he and his team collected blood samples from different ethnic groups, including the representatives of the nomadic Fulani people studied inherited polymorphisms in the protein hemoglobin and serum.

However, to detect polymorphism in people belonging to different ethnic groups, chemical methods was not enough. Blumberg has used the mechanism created by nature. When the invasion of foreign bodies in the body immune system produces antibodies (antibody proteins globulin fraction of serum, formed in response to the introduction into the human or warm-blooded animals of bacteria, viruses, protein toxins). Produced antibodies are more sensitive to differences between proteins than the latest (at that time) reagents. He put forward the hypothesis that after multiple transfusions of blood from different donors in the recipient may produce antibodies against the polymorphic protein, which he did not have from birth, but they were blood donors.

The objective was to determine whether the blood antibodies will cause precipitation of the antigens of different sera, blood relevant representatives of different ethnic groups. (Antigen organic substance capable of admission into the body to provoke an immune response, the antigen properties are foreign to the body`s proteins and polysaccharides). They were able to identify various options for the main plasma proteins.

In 1963 they found in the blood of a patient with hemophilia New Yorker antibodies that react only with serum obtained from an Australian aborigine. There was a natural question, as the so called Australian antigen could meet in the New Yorker (previously it was thought that such an antigen unique to Aboriginal people).

In 1963, Blumberg pereshelna work in the Research Cancer Institute in Philadelphia, where he continued to study the Australian antigen. He was able to establish that the Australian antigen antigen is not hereditary and acquired during liver disease. In 1967, they have evidence that the Australian antigen associated with hepatitis B virus, which causes liver disease.

In the late 1960s the world`s epidemic of hepatitis B, but to Blumberg nobody has been able to identify hepatitis B virus has been known that the infection occurs during blood transfusion, but there were no methods to determine the presence of virus in the blood. After the opening made by Blumberg developed methods for determining the virus in banked blood, which significantly reduced the risk of infection through blood transfusion.

In addition, the scientists were able to establish that in the human body who has had hepatitis B, antibodies are produced against the outer shell of the virus, but every hundredth patient becomes infected with HIV - for many years in his body still and viruses and antigens. It was an original way to get a vaccine immunizing antigen directly from the blood of virus carriers. Natural hepatitis B vaccine was created and even went on sale in 1982. It was very expensive to produce, but the discovery of Blumberg gave impetus to the development of vaccines based on genetic engineering.

In 1976, Baruch Blumberg received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases."

After receiving the Nobel Prize, in 1977 he took a professorship at the University of Pennsylvania: 1983 1984 worked as a consulting professor at Oxford University.

Among the awards: Eppiingera Prize (University of Freiburg, 1973), and the prize for medicine Passau (Passau Foundation, 1974).

Works: Australia Antigen and Hepatitis

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