Metchnikoff and the Origins of Immunology: From Metaphor to Theory

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Oxford University Press, Jul 25, 1991 - Medical - 280 pages
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This fascinating intellectual history is the first critical study of the work of Elie Metchnikoff, the founding father of modern immunology. Metchnikoff authored and championed the theory that phagocytic cells actively defend the host body against pathogens and diseased cells. His program developed from comparative embryological studies that sought to establish genealogical relations between species at the dawn of the Darwinian revolution. In this scientific biography, Tauber and Chernyak explore ore Metchnikoff's development as an embryologist, showing how it prepared him to propose his theory of host-pathogen interaction. They discuss the profound impact of Darwin's theory of evolution on Metchnikoff's progress, and the influence of 19th century debates on vitalism, teleology, and mechanism. As a case study of scientific discovery, this work offers lucid insight into the process of creative science and its dependence on cultural and philosophic sources. Immunologists and historians of science and medicine will find it an absorbing and accessible account of a remarkable individual.
 

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Contents

2 Metchnikoffs Early Embryology
25
3 Metchnikoffs Embryological Studies after 1872
50
4 The Problem of Evolution in Metchnikoffs Works
68
5 Metchnikoffs Emerging Concept of Inflammation
101
6 The Phagocytosis Theory and Its Reception
135
7 The Phagocyte Eclipsed
154
From Metaphor to Theory
175
Morphologists versus Darwinians the Modern Debate
183
Current Views of Phagocyte Function
191
Notes and References
199
Index
237
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