Immunity: How Elie Metchnikoff Changed the Course of Modern Medicine

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Chicago Review Press, 2016 - Biography & Autobiography - 324 pages
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Around Christmas of 1882, while peering through a microscope at starfish larvae in which he had inserted tiny thorns, Russian zoologist Elie Metchnikoff had a brilliant insight: what if the mobile cells he saw gathering around the thorns were nothing but a healing force in action? Metchnikoff's daring theory of immunity--that voracious cells he called phagocytes formed the first line of defense against invading bacteria--would eventually earn the scientist a Nobel Prize, shared with his archrival, as well as the unofficial moniker "Father of Natural Immunity." But first he had to win over skeptics, especially those who called his theory "an oriental fairy tale."

Using previously inaccessible archival materials, author Luba Vikhanski chronicles Metchnikoff's remarkable life and discoveries in the first moder n biography of this hero of medicine. Metchnikoff was a towering figure in the scientific community of the early twentieth century, a tireless humanitarian who, while working at the Pasteur Institute in Paris, also strived to curb the spread of cholera, syphilis, and other deadly diseases. In his later years, he startled the world with controversial theories on longevity, launching a global craze for yogurt, and pioneered research into gut microbes and aging. Though Metchnikoff was largely forgotten for nearly a hundred years, Vikhanski documents a remarkable revival of interest in his ideas on immunity and on the gut flora in the science of the twenty-first century.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Dokfintong - LibraryThing

A gem for the right reader Dr. Elie Metchnikoff was a remarkable man at a remarkable period of history and Luba Vikhanski has done a good job of telling us his story. The controversy that his immune ... Read full review

IMMUNITY: How Elie Metchnikoff Changed the Course of Modern Medicine

User Review  - Kirkus

A resurrection of the life of "one of the founding fathers of immunology," Elie Metchnikoff (1845-1916). Vikhanski (In Search of the Lost Cord: Solving the Mystery of Spinal Cord Regeneration, 2001 ... Read full review

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About the author (2016)

Luba Vikhanski is an awardwinning author with twenty-five years of experience as a science journalist and writer. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Nature Medicine, and the Jerusalem Post. She has written two books: A Well-Informed Patient's Guide to Breast Surgery and In Search of the Lost Cord: Solving the Mystery of Spinal Cord Regeneration.

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