On the centenary of Paul Ehrlich's Nobel Prize, this German researcher deserves to be remembered as a pioneer in a large number of scientific disciplines. As a result of his enthusiasm and scientific abilities, dedication, and contacts with other scientists of his time, he was able to make countless contributions in fields as diverse as histology, haematology, immunology, oncology, microbiology and pharmacology, among others. Although the Swedish award was meant to recognize the standardization of the manufacture of antidiphtheria serum, it was the discovery of arsphenamine (Salvarsan) for the treatment of syphilis which won him wider international acclaim. From a pharmacological perspective, Ehrlich's outstanding contributions include dissemination of the 'magic bullet' concept for the synthesis of antibacterials, introduction of concepts such as chemoreceptor and chemotherapy, and linking the chemical structure of compounds to their pharmacological activity. These achievements took place within the framework he established for the transition from experimental pharmacology to therapeutic pharmacology. He introduced a modern research system based on the synthesis of multiple chemical structures for pharmacological screening in animal models of disease states. These contributions were undoubtedly decisive in propitiating the wider development of antibiotics decades later. For these reasons, it is fitting to mark the 100th anniversary of the Nobel Prize awarded to this great scientist by commemorating the importance of his contributions to the advance of pharmacology.
Copyright 2008 S. Karger AG, Basel.