Women Making History: Mary Putnam Jacobi

Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi was a female pioneer in medical history. Throughout her life, she raised awareness for women’s education, produced many articles, and became a well-respected scientist of her time.

Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi, born Mary Putnam, was born in London, England on August 31, 1842. Her parents, George and Victorine Putnam, were American, and they returned to the United States in 1848. She spent her young life growing up in New York and graduated high school in 1859.

She wanted to further her education in medicine, despite her father’s opinion of women not practicing medicine. She attended the New York College of Pharmacy and graduated from there in 1863. She received her M.D. from the Female Medical College of Pennsylvania in 1864. She then moved to Boston to study medicine at the New England Hospital for Women and Children.

Since, Mary Putnam was not happy with her education in America, she moved to Paris, where she became the was one of the first female students at the Ecole de Medecine and graduated in 1871. She received a bronze medal for her thesis and moved back to the United States in 1871. Once in New York, she combined private clinical practice and teaching at the New York Infirmary and Mount Sinai Hospital. She was the first woman to gain admission to many different medical societies.

During this time, Putnam supported the idea of both women and men training together to learn medicine, stating that the women’s institutes did not prepare them to practice medicine enough. Through her lecturing at different institutes, she raised the educational standards towards women.

In 1863, Mary Putnam married Dr. Abraham Jacobi, who is referred to as the “father of American pediatrics.” After her marriage, Mary Putnam Jacobi continued her career with both lecturing at different medical school and working as a consultant physician, where she opened a children’s ward in the New York Infirmary in 1886. With her ability to diagnose and continue to push for educational rights between men and women, she is considered one of American’s great physicians.

During her time practicing medicine, she joined many different medical associations, where she became the first woman to belong to the New York Academy of Medicine. She also became the second woman member of the Medical Society of the County of New York. She also belonged to the American Medical Association.

During this time of her practicing medicine, Mary Putnam Jacobi continued to publish articles of many different women’s health issues. Jacobi’s essay, “The Question of Rest for Women during Menstruation,” won her the Boylston Prize at Harvard. This essay was a reply to another doctor’s article, who questioned the role of woman in society and professions. Dr. Jacobi’s essay provided statistics and illustrated how a woman could contribute to her role in society during her cycle. One of her last articles written was a detailed description of her brain tumor titled “Description of the Early Symptoms of the Meningeal Tumor Compressing the Cerebellum,” which eventually killed her on June 10. 1906.




“Changing the Face of Medicine| Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi.” U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health, 3 June 2015, cfmedicine.nlm.nih.gov/physicians/biography_163.html.Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

“Mary Putnam Jacobi (1842-1906).” Open Collections Program: Women Working, Mary Putnam Jacobi (1842-1906), ocp.hul.harvard.edu/ww/Jacobi.html. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

MacLean, Maggie. “Maggie MacLean.” Civil War Women, 26 June 2015, www.civilwarwomenblog.com/mary-putnam-jacobi/. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017

Source of Photo: “August 31: Mary Corinna Putnam Jacobi| Green-Wood.” GreenWood, www.green-wood.com/2013/august-31-mary-corinna-putnam-jacobi/. Accessed 1 Oct. 2017.

Agatha Christie: A True Poison Expert

Agatha Christie has carved her place out in history by being the best selling mystery author of all time. In many of her books, she used poisons to kill her victims and this was no coincidence. A little known fact is a big part of her being able to paint an accurate portrayal of poisoning is because of her vast knowledge of chemicals from her training as a pharmacy dispenser.

Christie was originally named Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller at birth in the United Kingdom on September 15, 1890. She was born into a time when it was rare for a woman to receive a formal education. However, her mother insisted she learn how to read and even sent her to finishing school when she turned 16. (1)

During WWI, Agatha volunteered as a nurse in Britain. It was there that she first became interested in the science of medicine. After the end of the war she began training at a dispensary. The training involved practical and theoretical chemistry. At this time, many medications were compounded by hand at dispensaries, therefore giving her hands on experience on making medications.

She began to transition this hands on experience into her fictional books in 1920 when her first book, The Mysterious Affair at Styles. The victim in this book was poisoned when someone added bromide (precipitating agent) to her sleeping tonic. As a result of the addition of the bromide, the medicine settled in the bottom and formed a lethal dose. Agatha Christie’s accurate descriptions of poisons have even been said to be used while diagnosing a patient. In her novel, The Pale Horse, she described thallium poisoning symptoms so well that after reading the book, a nurse at a hospital recognized these symptoms in one of her patients. (3)

At the end of her career, Christie had written 82 detective novels and detailed overdose signs of over 28 unique chemical compounds. Her literary work earned her several awards and in 1971 she was even made a dame of Great Britain. It is clear that her pharmaceutical knowledge was part of the driving force of her literary career. (2)



  1. Agatha Christie. (2012). FamousAuthors.org. Retrieved 04:07, September 28, 2017 from http://www.famousauthors.org/agatha-christie
  2. Harkup, Kathryn. A Is for arsenic. New York, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
  3. Sova, Dawn B. Agatha Christie a to Z: The Essential Reference to Her Life and Writings. New York: Facts on File, ©1996.

The Life and Legacy of Louis Pasteur

One of the most notable figures in the development of vaccines is Louis Pasteur. Pasteur was born on December 27, 1822 in Dole, France. During his life, Pasteur excelled as a chemist, a biologist, and a microbiologist and is remembered for his discovery of pasteurization, his efforts toward the understanding of microbial fermentation, and his initial administration of the rabies vaccine. In his early years, Pasteur was only considered an average student, and his main interests included drawing and painting. He earned both a bachelor of arts degree and a bachelor of sciences degree from the Royal College of Besançon. He also earned a doctorate degree in 1847 from the École Normale in Paris. Following several years of teaching and researching, Pasteur became a professor of chemistry at the University of Strasbourg. It was here that he met his wife, Marie Laurent, who he went on to have five children with.

Pasteur’s first major contribution to the field of chemistry concerned his study of tartaric acid. Based on the way that light was rotated as it passed through a solution of dissolved tartaric acid, Pasteur was able to propose what is now accepted as the concept of molecular chirality, as well as make the first true explanation of isomerism. Later on in 1854, Pasteur was appointed professor of chemistry and dean of the science faculty at the University of Lille. It was here that he worked on addressing the common problems with the manufacture of alcoholic drinks. Using the germ theory which had already been established, Pasteur was able to expand pre-existing concepts in order to demonstrate that organisms like bacteria were responsible for souring beer, wine, and milk. He was responsible for establishing a process by which bacteria could be removed by first boiling and then cooling the liquid. This first test was completed on April 20, 1862, and the process today is known as pasteurization. Moving onto vaccines, Pasteur made his first major discovery in this field in 1879, with a disease known as chicken cholera. In this experiment, chickens were inoculated with an attenuated culture of chicken cholera germs. The chickens survived and when Pasteur inoculated them with a virulent strain, they demonstrated immunity to the disease. Beyond this, Pasteur extended the germ theory in order to develop causes and vaccinations for several other diseases like anthrax, cholera, smallpox, and tuberculosis.

Following his success with previous vaccinations and his acceptance into the Académie Française in 1882, Pasteur began to focus his efforts on the issue of rabies. On July 6, 1885, Pasteur vaccinated Joseph Meister, a 9-year-old boy who had been bitten by a rabid dog and who would have otherwise been doomed to a near-unavoidable death. The vaccine ended up saving Meister’s life and Pasteur was hailed as a hero. It was this event that sparked interest among the public to begin a fundraising campaign in order to construct the Pasteur Institute. Fundraising began in 1887 with several countries donating to the cause. The institute was inaugurated on November 14, 1888 and served as a center of scientific research and development. After 1891, the Pasteur Institute began to extend to several more countries, and there are currently 32 institutes spanning 29 countries. Besides the many individuals saved by his research on vaccines, Pasteur’s contributions continue to benefit both the medical and pharmaceutical fields as a whole.


Stern, M. A., & Markel, H. (2005). The History of Vaccines and Immunization: Familiar Patterns, New Challenges. Health Affairs, 24(3), 611-621.

Ulmann, A. (2017). Louis Pasteur: French Chemist and Microbiologist. In Encyclopedia Britannica. Retrieved from https://www.britannica.com/biography/Louis-Pasteur

Making A Mark in Pharmacy: George F. Archambault

George Francis Archambault was born in Springfield, Massachusetts on April 29, 1909 and died on January 1, 2001. After working for a local pharmacy in Springfield he decided to take his career a step further and attend the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy where he completed his curriculum of study to receive his graduate of pharmacy (PhG). Along with his pharmacy degree he ascertained his candidate of philosophy (PhC) degree a few years later. Focusing heavily on education he taught for a few years at the Massachusetts College before moving on again with his life goals. Following this path into higher education he went to Northeastern University and graduated with his juris doctor degree (JD).

Following his completion of the many educational endeavors he embarked upon, Mr. Archambault then took a pharmacy position at the U.S. Marine Hospital where he taught pharmaceutics and compounded different products for his fellows in the marines and coast guard. Following these periodicals of his life, he was then commissioned to the Public Health Service and later given the title of Chief of the Pharmacy Branch of the Public Health Service Division of Hospitals. The Office of the Surgeon General named him Pharmacy Liaison Officer. While in the Public Health Service he was a consultant on Medicare and as one knows Medicare is important today for pharmaceutical reimbursement and is constantly changing with guidance from consultants such as Mr. Archambault. He wrote many rules and regulations that govern both Medicare and Medicaid.

Mr. Archambault was heavily active in many organizations and was the founder of a few that are still around today. He was a founding member of the American Society of Hospital Pharmacist and the American Society of Consultant Pharmacists (ASCP). The title “the father of consultant pharmacy” is often used when addressing his name because he founded the organization and through his years he consulted countless organizations, programs, and persons. An award has since been placed in his name for consultant pharmacist due to his undeniable presence in ASCP. Mr. Archambault was an officer and president of the American Pharmaceutical Association (APhA) were they now honor him with a scholarship dedicated to him for his lifetime career in pharmacy and service to the profession.

After retirement Mr. Archambault went on to become the dean of the University of Florida’s Pharmacy School. He brought his life full circle with education. Not only did he educate himself but he also educated others throughout his entire life. Educating the next generation of pharmacist is an achievement in itself because it creates a new crop of individuals who can better serve the world through his experiences and knowledge. Along with education he continued down the consultant path still and consulted organizations such as the United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) who are still in existence today and have a heavy influence in rural states such as West Virginia were mining is so prevalent.



“George F. Archambault Scholarship.” APhA Foundation, APhA,www.aphafoundation.org/arch

ambault-scholarship-campaign .

“Public Health Official George Archambault Dies.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 27

Jan. 2001, www.washingtonpost.com/archive/local/2001/01/27/public-health-official- 




Historical Perspectives: Sir Alexander Fleming

Contributed by Austin Schambach, Class of 2019

When you take a look back on the influences throughout the history of pharmacy, you can without a doubt identify Sir Alexander Fleming as one of the major players that contributed to development in the field.  He has written many papers that are published in medical journals due to their significance.  During Fleming’s early medical studies, he became particularly interested in natural bacteria.  He more so focused on the action it had in the blood and also the action in antiseptics.  Fleming’s critical contributions included the discovery of multiple substances, medical journal published papers, and the Nobel Prize he was awarded for his work.



Alexander Fleming is recognized for the discovery of many important substances, which positively altered the field.  While serving in hospitals during World War I in 1914, he stumbled upon the decision that antiseptics do more harm when used than they do to cure.  He stated that they mainly treat surface wounds but fail to treat anything deeper.  During his work, he examined tissues and secretions.  The examination of those aspects led to his discovery of a bacteriolytic enzyme that he later named a lysozyme.  At another point in his medical career, the experimenting with and observation of the influenza virus allowed him to make a few critical analyses.  Fleming noticed that a mold had developed on his staphylococcus culture.  The abnormal characteristic he saw on this mold was that it had circle around it, which he determined was bacteria free.   At that point he further worked with the culture and saw that it prevented the growth of staphylococci.  He stabilized and purified the specimen over and over but only confirmed his previous conclusion. He named this substance penicillin.  Based on his discoveries and other influential work, Sir Alexander Fleming produced many highly renowned writings.

Sir Alexander wrote several papers in a variety of fields like bacteriology, immunology, and chemotherapy.  Some of his papers even include the original findings of the lysozyme and penicillin. They have been published in medical and scientific journals.  The published papers allowed people to read and appreciate the work and approach of each crucial discovery that was made by Fleming throughout his decorated life’s work.  Not only was there an appreciation for his writings but he was also awarded a Nobel Prize for his field-altering discovery.

Fleming changed the field of medicine forever when he discovered penicillin in his experiments.  This Nobel Prize in Medicine was given to Fleming, Florey, and Chain in 1945.  He was accepted into every medical and scientific society as an honorary member because he was looked at as such an influential figure.  Alexander Fleming is more commonly known as Sir Alexander Fleming because in 1944 King George VI knighted him as Knight Bachelor.

In conclusion, Sir Alexander Fleming is considered one of the most influential figures throughout history in the field of not only medicine but also science as a whole.  Through various awards and a Nobel Prize, papers published in medical journals, and the discovery of many important substances, Fleming’s importance to the field does not go unnoticed or unappreciated.



“Alexander Fleming Biography.” Bio.com. A&E Networks Television, n.d. Web. 26  Sept. 2016.

“Alexander Fleming Biography.” The Famous People- Society for Recognition of Famous People. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.

“Sir Alexander Fleming – Biographical.” Sir Alexander Fleming – Biographical. N.p., n.d. Web. 26 Sept. 2016.




Al-Razi: The Persian Polymath

Contributed by Tameem Badwan, Class of 2019

Muhammad ibn Zakriya al-Razi, better known as Razi (or Rhazes) was a Persian “renaissance man” and a physician, alchemist, and philosopher. Born in 854 CE, he was alive during the Islamic Golden Age and was thought to have lived near what is now present day Iran.

He was one of the earliest proponents of experimental medicine, and actively practiced as chief physician of Baghdad. Razi is also credited as one of the first people to use the “four humors” to distinguish one contagious disease from another. He was ahead of his time in terms of healthcare and medicine, and is even said to have written a book about smallpox and measles in which he provides clinical characterizations of the diseases.

raziIn regards to pharmacy, Razi is said to have contributed in many ways, primarily by collecting and compiling texts in which he introduces the use of “mercurial ointments”. Mercurial ointments are ointments that utilized mercury, which was thought to possess many medicinal properties. Razi also contributed to the pharmaceutical profession by pioneering the use and development of tools such as mortars, flasks, spatulas, and phials, all of which were used in pharmacy until the early twentieth century.

Razi was also a strong believer in practicing medicine ethically. He attacked fake doctors and sellers of magic cures and potions. He tried to educate the public on the importance of questioning doctors, and often warned that even highly educated doctors did not have the answers to all medical problems and could not cure all sickness or heal every disease. This is important in regards to pharmacy because it is an issue that is emerging once again. With the emergence of the Pharm.D. degree, pharmacists are trying to educate the public that doctors are not the be all end all of medical treatment.

Razi was also interesting in the fact that he identified mental illness as a disease. Though he believed it was caused by demons. Razi was also a very successful author and is credited with many publications, including a medical book focused on pediatrics.

The impact of Razi on the pharmaceutical profession can still be seen today. Razi was one of the first to perfect various methods of distillation and extraction. Razi was also an avid alchemist, which can be seen as an earlier form of pharmaceutical compounding.




Historical Pioneers: Ian Frazer & the HPV Vaccine

Contributed by Kathryn Howerton, Class of 2019

Ian Frazer was born in Glasgow, UK in 1953. He attended the University of Edinburgh, earned his Bachelors of Medicine and Bachelors of Surgery degrees, and became a renal physician and clinical immunologist. In 1980, he moved to Australia to study viral immunology at the University of Queensland, where he began conducting research on cervical cancer (Ratner, 2001). Frazer was drawn to cervical cancer in particular because it is caused entirely by an infection with human papilloma virus, or HPV, and is one of the only cancers known to be caused by a virus (Frazer, 2008).

Frazer began studying the virus alongside his colleague and collaborator Jian Zhou. After studying the virus, Frazer and Zhou hypothesized that by creating a vaccine against the strains of the virus responsible, the rates of cervical cancer worldwide could be reduced by up to 70%. They designed a vaccine that would provide immunity against the “high risk” types of HPV: 6, 11, 16, and 18, which are the most aggressive types and the most likely to cause cancers or genital warts (Ratner, 2001). The final HPV vaccine is an inactivated vaccine made from the virus-like particles, or VLP’s, which were isolated from each of these four types of HPV and patented by Frazer and Zhou (Frazer, 2008).

The final vaccine, named Gardasil, was licensed by Merck in 1995, underwent clinical trials, and came to market in 2006.  However, Frazer has not rested on this achievement. He has since used his newfound fame to educate the world about cervical cancer risks, treatment, and prevention. He was named Australian Man of the Year in 2006, and used this position to advocate for more effective public-private partnerships for vaccine research and development (Ratner, 2008). His willingness to use his time and position to continue to advocate for public health shows his determination to eradicating the disease and helping to make the world a healthier place for the women and men who may be affected by HPV.

Despite all of his education efforts, it would seem that Frazer’s most important contribution to medical and pharmaceutical knowledge is still the incredible effect his vaccine has had on disease rates since its release. A study published in 2013 by the CDC announced that since the vaccine’s release, the prevalence of these 4 types of HPV had decreased by 56% in the US among teenage girls aged 14-19 (CDC, 2013). In the future, with increased vaccination rates and awareness, Frazer’s goal of eliminating cervical cancer due to HPV may be realized even sooner than he had thought. The research, development, and marketing that he has put into this vaccine have yielded incredible results even in the short time since its release. Ian Frazer’s work has had a remarkable impact on public health, and because of it, he can certainly be considered a hero in the world of pharmacy and vaccines.


CDC. (2013, June 19). New study shows HPV vaccine helping lower HPV infection rates in teen girls. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2013/p0619-hpv-vaccinations.html

Frazer IH. (2008). HPV vaccines and the prevention of cervical cancer. Update on Cancer Therapeutics;3(1):43-48. doi:10.1016/j.uct.2008.02.002. Retrieved from: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1872115X08000054

Ratner, M. (2007). Ian Frazer. Nat Biotech, 25(12), 1377. Retrieved from http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/nbt1207-1377

American Pharmacists Month Historical Pioneers: Louis Pasteur

Contributed by Kendra Hall, Class of 2019

Louis Pasteur was born in France in December of 1822 (“Louis Pasteur: The man who led the fight against germs,” 2016). Through childhood he was very interested in arts and loved to paint; however, his father, a sergeant major in the Napoleonic wars, pushed him to study hard. He attended Ecole Normale Superieure where he earned his master’s in 1845 and doctorate in 1847. While working on his doctoral dissertation on how crystals rotate planes of polarized light, he came to the conclusion that it was the internal arrangement to the molecules that caused the light to bend (“Louis Pasteur,” 2016). He started working at University of Strasbourg in 1848, where he continued his research into crystals light arrangement. In his research he discovered that molecules have mirror images and that living molecules always rotate the light to the left, also called left-handed (“Louis Pasteur: The man who led the fight against germs,” 2016).

Pasteur was the first person to realize that everything was not created from nothing. He discovered germ theory (“Louis Pasteur: The man who led the fight against germs,” 2016).  His theory was that sickness did not come from a “presence” but was actually very tiny organisms. When Antoni van Leeuwenhoek developed the microscope, he discovered there were tiny creatures in the sample of water he was viewing under the microscope. This was just the beginning to Louis’s discovery of the germ theory (Wellcome Library, n.d.).

Germ Theory is only one of the many things that Pasteur is known for. Pasteurization is yet another. He was tasked to find out why only some of the bottles of wine were spoiling on the way to market. What he found was that there was bacteria in the bottles. To solve the problem, he determined that the wine could be boiled at 55 degrees Celsius and it would kill the bacteria, but it would not deteriorate the quality of the wine (“Louis Pasteur: The man who led the fight against germs,” 2016).

His research took him in another direction. Developing a vaccine. Originally, he looked at anthrax but turned quickly to fowl cholera. He realized that exposing the body to a small amount of the disease (bacteria) the body would fight the disease and only have a mild reaction. This is how he discovered that attenuating the bacteria was needed. Attenuating caused a weakening of the bacteria that would still cause the immunity to build up but with little to no sickness. He proved this by growing cultures of fowl cholera and exposing lab chickens to it, the result was death as expected, but after leaving the cultures for several months and repeating the process the chickens became immune to the cholera with very little sickness (“Louis Pasteur,” 2016).

After this discovery, he went back to anthrax and tried the same thing. He vaccinated several animals in a two part series and left several more unvaccinated to test his theory. A few weeks after administration, he exposed all the animals to anthrax. Of those animals, none of the vaccinated died nor showed severe symptoms; while all the unvaccinated animals died two days later. Now that he knew he could develop vaccines, to prevent against these deadly diseases, he started looking at rabies. He successfully created a vaccine for rabies that he first tested in monkeys then rabbits. He then moved to infected dogs, to see if he could treat them for rabies and not just prevent them. Knowing of his success in the dogs, a mother begged him to give it to her son who had been bitten by a rabid animal. After some persuasion, he agreed to his first human trial and was successful (“Louis Pasteur,” 2016).

He was one of the most influential scientists in this era. Even though he was laughed at and mocked for his germ theory, he never gave up. His work on vaccines proved he was not crazy at all but that there really were tiny organisms that caused disease and that sickness did not just happen.

Works Cited

Louis Pasteur. (2016). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from https://www.chemheritage.org/ historical-profile/louis-pasteur

Louis Pasteur: The man who led the fight against germs. (2016). Retrieved September 21, 2016, from http://www.bbc.co.uk/timelines/z9kj2hv#z3r7xnb

Wellcome Library, L. (n.d.). Germ Theory. Retrieved September 21, 2016, from http://www. sciencemuseum.org.uk/broughttolife/techniques/germtheory


American Pharmacists Month–HeLa Cells: Impact on Modern Medicine & Vaccine Development

Contributed by Jovanny Gonzalez, Class of 2019, Fall 2016 History of Pharmacy 

helaHenrietta Lacks was born August 1920 to a family of farmers. Her upbringing was humble and with limited financial resources. Henrietta Lacks suffered from cervical cancer and while living in Maryland she visited John Hopkins University for treatment. A physician by the name of Howard Jones diagnosed and treated Henrietta and had samples of her cervix removed. Coincidently, at the same time research was being done on cell cultivation but scientist had a difficult time culturing cells for longer than a few days. Dr. George Otto Gey was the first person to come in contact with Mrs. Lacks cells and noticed that they proliferated and were durable. It was the first times in the scientific world were a group of cells replicated past a few days.


Read more about the importance of Henrietta Lacks in R. Sloot’s Book: The Immortal Life of Herietta Lacks

By 1955 Henrietta Lacks’ cells were known as HeLa cells. Scientist began to clone and mass-produce her cells for medical advancements. It is still unclear whether scientist received consent from Mrs. Lacks to use her cells for research but scientist state at that time there were no set regulations about patient consent it was considered natural to treat and use patient tissue to help the patient recover. One contribution HeLa cells brought to scientist was the ability to develop a vaccine for polio. Jonas Salk was the first to use HeLa cells and develop a vaccine for polio; and without HeLa cells that achievement may have been delayed.

The University of John Hopkins were it all began, acknowledged the impact and controversy HeLa cells brought to science by stating “Johns Hopkins Medicine sincerely acknowledges the contribution to advances in biomedical research made possible by Henrietta Lacks and HeLa cells. It’s important to note that at the time the cells were taken from Mrs. Lacks’ tissue, the practice of obtaining informed consent from cell or tissue donors was essentially unknown among academic medical centers. Sixty years ago, there was no established practice of seeking permission to take tissue for scientific research purposes. The laboratory that received Mrs. Lacks’s cells had arranged many years earlier to obtain such cells from any patient diagnosed with cervical cancer as a way to learn more about a serious disease that took the lives of so many. Johns Hopkins never patented HeLa cells, nor did it sell them commercially or benefit in a direct financial way. Today, Johns Hopkins and other research-based medical centers consistently obtain consent from those asked to donate tissue or cells for scientific research.” HeLa cells were cultivated worldwide and many scientist gained recognition by using Henrietta Lacks’ cells but her family did not receive any recognition nor any monetary gain. 

Even today, HeLa cells are being used to study new disease such as HIV and other viruses. Scientist continue to use HeLA cells in research to find remedies, develop vaccines, cure disease. Through HeLa cells, many major medical advancements have been and continue to be made.



  1. http://www.biography.com/people/henrietta-lacks-21366671#legal-and-ethical-implications
  1. https://bigpictureeducation.com/quick-guide-hela-cells
  1. http://berkeleysciencereview.com/article/good-bad-hela/
  1. Picture http://northdallasgazette.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2016/07/Henrietta-Lacks.jpg


American Pharmacists Month–Polio Pioneer Dr. Albert Sabin

Contributed by Rachel Peaytt, Class of 2019 & Fall 2016 PHAR 546 Student

Albert Sabin was born on August 26, 1906 in Bialystok, Poland and passed away on March 3, 1993. He immigrated to the United States in 1921 with his family to New York. Sabin received his medical degree in 1931 from Bellevue Hospital and the Lister Institute of Preventive Medicine in London. Soon after, he traveled back to the United States to work.

Sabin began his work on the oral polio vaccine in 1939 after he started at a position as an associate professor at the Children’s Hospital Research Foundation at the University of Cincinnati. He soon formed the Department of Virology and Microbiology at the university, and this was the outlet, resources, and system of colleagues that he had to do his research on the vaccine. In 1958 and 1959, the vaccine that Sabin created was tested in millions of people. His formula was an oral vaccine that used a live but weakened version of the poliovirus, also known as an attenuated vaccine. The vaccine came into commercial use in 1961.

Albert Sabin’s polio vaccine was the second polio vaccine available to the United States. The first was an injectable vaccine of the inactivated poliovirus developed by Jonas Salk, MD in 1953. The polio epidemic in America was most serious from the 1940s to the late 1950s until the first polio vaccine was developed followed by Sabin’s oral vaccine. Polio paralyzed and/or took the lives of thousands of children and other people each year. Epidemics occurred around summertime and into early fall with no idea on how the virus was transmitted. Years later, it was found that the virus thrived in the heat and was transmitted by large bodies of water where people congregated, like swimming pools in the summer.

Salk’s vaccine was an injectable and inactivated vaccine that was 80-90% effective. Polio was still not eradicated after the administration of the Salk vaccine although it was proven “safe, effective, and potent” and saved thousands of lives still. It was not until after Sabin’s vaccine was developed and administered that polio was almost completely eradicated in the United States. Salk’s vaccine was entirely phased out by 1968. The oral polio vaccine was more beneficial since volunteers instead of trained professionals that had to inject it could easily give it. The Sabin vaccine was also relatively inexpensive. Both of these factors were paramount when it came to administering the vaccine to people in developing countries. Sabin’s vaccine was also safe, effective, and induced long-lasting immunity to all three types of poliovirus as opposed to Salk’s vaccine. Salk’s injectable vaccine only stimulated systemic immunity, instead of mucosal immunity, and therefore did not interrupt the transmission of poliovirus. Salk’s vaccine protected individuals from the symptoms that occurred with the virus only. This was the reason for its less than perfect effectiveness that still allowed transmission. Sabin’s vaccine, on the other hand, provided protection from person to person transmission and eventually led to the eradication of the poliovirus in the United States by 1979.

Worked Cited

Klein, C. (2014, February 28). 8 Things You May Not Know About Jonas Salk and the Polio Vaccine. Retrieved September 12, 2016, from http://www.history.com/news/8-things-you-may-not-know-about-jonas-salk-and-the-polio-vaccine 

Polio Place. (n.d.). Retrieved September 12, 2016, from http://www.polioplace.org/people/albert-b-sabin-md