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Selman Waksman and the Streptomycin Controversy

2013-07-17 | 🔗

An accomplished bacteriologist, Selman Waksman and his students and colleagues isolated many new antibiotics in the 1940s, including streptomycin and neomycin, earning him the nickname Father of Antibiotics.

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This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
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I can't allow and welcomes, and finally ass I am Tracy Name, I'm Holly FRY Ali. Have you ever been on step the nice and I dont know I don't really you there certainly taken like their share of antibiotics but their strength. it was a pretty groundbreaking one. It still lots of uses and the person who usually gets the credit for its invention is a guy named Spellman walks men. Acta reality. Just who publish more four hundred scientific papers. He wrote or co eighteen books, and he students and colleagues isolated, lack of new antibiotics in the nineteen forties. These included, that's a nice in India, mice and those are the two
most well known of the ones. It actually got some practical use, some of the others did not have practical uses and all earned him the nickname father of antibiotics. He one the Nobel Prize and Physiology or medicine in nineteen. Fifty two, along with sixty other awards am twenty two honorary degrees, but there some dispute about whether he actually deserves the credit were having discovered strapped moisten. So today we're going to talk about, his life and his background in the whole stripped amazing controversy, cool wish. Finally start at the beginning. There right, let's do so Someone Abraham Rocksmond was born on July. Twenty second of eighteen, eighty near Kiev in what is now Ukraine, his parents were Jacob Waxman and Radio London Waxman his father, printed out houses that he and his mother ran a good drygoods business.
he also had a little sister who died of diphtheria when she was very young, the whole family were devout, you use, Waxman, had a philanthropic disposition and he and some friends organised a school for poor boys as well as carrying to the sick. His education started at a jewish religious school, mother was worried that focusing only on religious study with limit his potential in the future. So she also hired private tutors to educate him and other areas in nice, ten, he got a diploma from the fifth gymnasium in Odessa, as it he didn't, have a lot of opportunities for higher education within the russian empire. His mother had also ass. It not long before his graduation and many of his family had already moved to the United States to escape persecution, so he'd, I did to emigrate as well. save the cousin who had a farm in New Jersey. He started
oh wreckers on a scholarship and the fall of nineteen eleven and he got Sattler of Science in agriculture there in nineteen fifteen he went on to work on a masters degree wreckers, and while they are, he worked as a research assistant in soil bacteria ology at the New Jersey, agriculture experiment station in writing sixteen. He received his masters and became a U S, citizen, officially, that he also married Debbie midnight who was an artist and vocalist. He was from the same part of Russia where he had grown up They later had a funding Myron who went on when immunology stand to teach at Harvard and Yale Oxen went on to give additional education. He received a phd in biochemistry from the University of California Berkeley in nineteen eighteen after Oxman graduated Doktor James. with men who had worked for as a research assistant, while working on its masters invited him to come back to Rutgers
You started as a lecturer and worked his way up in the university focusing most of his research on soil microbes. You became professor microbiology and head of the Microbiology Department when it was founded in nineteen forty when Russia, established and instituted microbiology and nineteen forty nine. He became its director and when retired in linking fifty eight. He actually kept a lab and office at the institute and continue to do some work there. Although he really spent much warm his time writing and giving lectures, vision to all his work on soil bacteria ology. He also worked in marine backed he reality. You helped organ as the woods whole oceanographic institutions, division of Marine back to reality in the thirties. His work there continued until the early fortys and from there he became a trustee and, of course, but he is most famous for he developed a bunch of antibiotics. After Waxman Masters and Phd work had focused on bacteria known as ACT Hannah. My seeds, Lee
our anaerobic microbes that live in the soil. They use raising filaments to create these colonies or my sillier. So they resembled act in their size and their physiology. But this fellow, structure is more like what you think I've with a fungus while of the action of my seats are harmless. Some of them can carry disease and others can produce antibiotics in nineteen, me, seven Renee DE la french biologists joined Doktor Walkman Land and he studying the interactions between organisms in the soil and the way cellulose broke down in this process We pinpointed a bacterium that attack streptococcus pneumonia, which, as the name suggests causes pneumonia, and this in spite Doktor Waxman and his colleagues to look for other soil, more micro organisms that could fight against pathogens, and this is pretty logical Lee lots of bacteria in the soil are competing for a limited amount of real estate and food
So logically, they need to be able to compete with each other and defend themselves and attack each other. So working with a grand student named each void, Woodruff Doktor, Waxman started systematic looking for anti microbial activity in soils and what they would do isolate these colonies of specific microbes from the soil, and then they would culture colonies in a petri dish, and then them to other microbes to see. If inhibitions zones formed around the colonies which, in my head is like a real version of robot paddles. China think they deserve, Let's go this way and listen put together and fight like fight yeah, yeah that that sort of like what you want is, except that robot battles are exciting fit. This is kind of a slow burn. Is Haiti is painstaking work? they had to isolate thousands of different microbes. Colonies of them and then test them against specific disease, causing bacteria and a petri dish. This was
was a very labour intensive, delicate work that had to be done, precisely as they didn't contaminate things and The years more than fifty graduate students and visiting scholars took part in this project. They are real. taking a shot gun approach to getting lots of bacteria from the soil and seeing what they did. So they need a lot of people to carry out these instructions, and yet actual things so once they have isolated a particular bacterium and found it to have some kind of beneficial activity. They then have work out how to further isolate just the anti microbial compound it produced. This could everything from solvents. Two very precise temperature controls the first such bacteria that Woodruff isolated was named activity. My antibiotics as this species of actor. My sees that produced a substance that could both killed
and inhibit the growth of bacteria. So it was both bacteria static and bacteria sidle. He called this sub its mice in and he does. I've heard that you could use petroleum to separated into two distinct substances, one killed back and halted its growth and the others simply killed it. So it was pretty cool yeah. I was able to kill some bad bacteria, but fortunately, activity. My was super toxic to other living things, not just bag, so it really have any sort of farmers DE benefit at that point, but Doktor Waxman didn't give there. He went on systematically testing various economic seats. Looking for one bit, these anti substances that warrants are toxic to the plants or animals that needed to fight off infection, and a lot of this work happened through lots of assistance in graduate students and lab tax in those the people during the actual work based on this idea, because, as you said, it
The shotgun approach they were looking at lots of different things. Everything needed attention in things to be done one person could not have handled that note my work years later, Woodruff isolated struck. The thrice in which looked more missing than act in a nice in, but it turned out. It was still toxic. The toxic the just took a little while to kick in. So it was immediately apparent that it was toxic delay response eventually Doktor Waxman, his grad student and his colleagues found more than twenty bacteria prettiest substances that could fight infections. He also said the term antibiotics which had first been used as early as eighteen. Ninety one, as a name, this growing class of anti agents. This episode of stuff, you missed in history, glasses, brought to you by Norton three sixty with lifelike.
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off this episode of stuff you miss than history class, is brought to you by W W, formerly wait. Watchers they have launched a new might be to be programmed at their most groundbreaking and customize programme. Ever I joined W W because I was really looking for something that was going to help encourage me to make healthier eating choices. They have really done that when you joined them W W program, you will take a personal assessment. It ask a question. About your eating. Habits in your behaviour is not scientifically matches you up with which plan is going to be the best for you. I'm on blue plan, and it has made such a big difference or me in terms of encouraging means, eat healthy foods join W, W, formerly wait. Watchers unlocked customize weight loss plan that can make losing weight easier for you had gone over to Debbie Debbie dot com, that's w w dot com to joint Debbie Debbie. Today, with a limited time offer, and of course in the midst of all this controversy, condemned, grew out right.
In writing. Forty four came the discovery that had the most impact on human health and that was struck to mice in store my son was active against tuberculosis and it was the first antibiotic to successfully treat the disease, so that was huge. Tuberculosis had existed for, physically all of human history in twenty one, a vaccine have been developed in France using a bovine strain of tuberculosis that wasn't as virulent but before struck to my There is really no effective treatment for people who got it in the night century. Tuberculosis was responsible for as many as a quarter of the deaths in Europe and it often struck me who were otherwise pretty young and healthy, we brown taste sisters, John Keats, Frederick Chopin, France, Kafka and many other notable people died of tuberculosis When you read about somebody dying of consumption, tuberculosis is what you're talking about
The five note, my grandmother actually had tuberculosis and spent part of her childhood and tuberculosis sanatorium recovering That's cool. It's not that it's me historical reference. Point tat the person all historical reference point I have to this particular story, so that made the discovery of scrap device and extremely important there was very important because world war two was under way and the military desperately needed more tools to fight infection, but that marksman wasn't. Actually the person who isolated stripped of my sees Grizzy is, which was the bacteria that produce stripped of my sin, that distinction, goes to another of doktor walks. Winds grant students our shots, who was listed as co author first paper about s, Gracias, here's how Stripped of my went from a bacterium to drag. In thirty, nine Merkin company had contacted Doktor Waxman with a proposal. Doktor wax linen
Researchers would carry on methodically identifying anti microbial activity in soil and then Mark would pick up. The following and research and development. That would be needed to turn these discoveries into actual marketable drugs would do all the efficacy and safety tasks that kind of stuff it Doctor Waxman and his team. Couldn't really do you and Mark would give as part of this arrangement Doktor Waxman and his team acknowledgement in any patents that it obtained for the drugs in return. Rutgers would get a percentage of the royalties from the sale of the drug, and this was meant to be an exclusive agreement between mark an Rutgers Flash Doktor Waxman and thanks This agreement, when Albert Shots, isolated stripped of my sees Grizzy is Merk, was able to why the Mayo clinic with enough stripped of mice in for the necessary trials by ninety
forty five with the help of Mayo Clinic doctors, William Feldman and eight Corwin Hinshaw. after my son had made its way through animal trials and into clinical trials in the process. It was proved to be effective against typhoid fever. You cholera and others in addition to tv, they broad spectrum, antibiotic effective on both grandpa. Live and grim negative bacteria and not made it pretty much a groundbreaking wonder. Drug yeah. It was such a thing ass. The doktor Waxman was no longer comfortable with his original exclusive agreement with mark. The need for the drug was too great. He renegotiated their deal to have the patent assigned to Rutgers and licence to mark and other manufacturers, and for that wreckers would receive a royalty see basically just wanted it to be produced in great volume as quickly as possible for as many people as possible. This,
and was granted in nineteen. Forty eight under the new deal with Mark eighty percent of the royalties on the drugs manufacture, would go to Rutgers and twenty percent would go to Doktor Waxman. The university use this money to find it in of microbiology answer. an endowment for the institute, Doktor Walker. I share some of the money that came to him personally with the assistance and students who had worked on the patent with him. He established a foundation for microbiology to support micro, biological research with half of the twenty, and of the royalties that came to him, and he also set up a scholarship for immigrant students. It rutgers his wife also established Music scholarship Rucker. So from that one discovery, alot of benefit happened to a lot of people rain. Apart from the medical men, then there is a lot of of educational benefit broke out of me in nineteen forty nine Albert Shots, he is the person who had identified the two strains of bacteria that made strapped Amazin sued Doktor Waxman. His argument
that strapped Amazin existed only because of his initial discovery and the doktor Wax and had stopped acknowledging his contribution, keeping all of the credit or himself Doktor Walker. Counter argument was that shots was working as an assistant on his project using his methodology, which had passed. Usually identified many other bacteria that produced anti microbial compounds so in Oxman view shock was basically a technician carrying out his project. Based on his idea. According to Peter Pringle, who is the author of the book experiment, eleven dark secret behind the discovery of a wondered round which chronicles the discovery subsequent lawsuit, Doktor Waxman, and he made all kinds of specious accusations against shots, including false accuracy, and that his uncle had stolen, is no books in the lab and removed crucial paper before returning them. Pringles
count characterizes Doktor Waxman as itself aggrandize in who made his lab systems, do grant work with no credit. While he got all the glory and built everybody who can we did to the project out of money that they were entitled to from the royalties. He also care ices. The allegation of the stolen notebooks as follows: the papers please somewhere else entirely due to the patent filings that were going on at the time and the missing page, which there was really a missing page. Was later in the experiment, then the point where shots had isolated the bacterium they get the credit for making such devices Rollin De Hotchkiss, writing for the National Academy of Sciences characterised Doktor Waxman, as a philanthropic man, whose pride was tempered with modesty and whose colleagues viewed him with admiration and really warm respect. The case between shots and Waxman, went on for a year and was settled and nineteen fifty
and the settlement of the twenty percent of the royalties that we're not going to Rutgers Waxman would get ten percent shot. get three percent and the other people who had participated in the project would slip up the remaining seven percent, the noble rise in nineteen. Fifty two went to Doktor Waxman only, although the award beats, also reference shots, the Mayo clinic here she conducted the trials on the drug and others who participated in the research. Some of the shots murders, petition the Nobel Committee to give the prize two shots as well, but in the end, the prize when only to doktor Oxman. This was really a common practice at the time. The Nobel Committee generally would recognise the senior scientists on a project more senior scientists or assistants who had help with it but find the big American, has this event listed as one of histories, ten biggest Nobel Snubs, a tutor,
is really a common practice at the time. The Nobel Committee generally would recognise the senior scientists on a project and not more widespread in the world of science in response nature article riding in the journal of the history of medicine, Allied Sciences, William Kings, describe shots discovery as a matter of work because of us, magic way the Doktor Waxman was having his assistants work? They could in any one of them to isolate the bacterium that lead to Strip the Mason actually lead to some back and forth in the letters to the editor in which instant goes up against Milton Wainwright author of Miracle cure the story of penicillin in the golden age of antibiotics back and forth is basically no. Ah, I see it. way. I see it this way. I there's no on both sides. So clearly, this argument is really far from our amber
people who were the key players in it have died. Doktor Waxman died on August, sixteen nineteen, seventy three and Albert shots. You did go on to become a doctor and have a career in science died on January, seventeenth, two thousand and five- we're all this happened, which is Martin Hall on the campus wreckers, was It turned into a museum to the development of antibiotics at the university on May twenty. Four, two thousand five the american Chemical Society named the lab and national historic Chemical landmark and installed a plaque commemorating it on the campus. So the debate rages on, but we still recognise it as a very important place and discover debate yeah, and I ever have through having done the research. I cannot decide how I really feel about the debate like ours It was clearly very upset and felt like he is working at it's crazy long hours in a lab bent on finding a cure for tuberculosis clearly was true that sort of way
graduate assistant is low a lot of the time It's hard to substantiate some of the claims that he makes about doktor walks. Man like he claims a doctor, and was not really about finding a cure for tuberculosis and was deathly afraid of tuberculosis and didn't want to have sure how weak back that up year, without going through well in the characterizations made of Doktor Oxman seem counter to what all of his colleagues felt about am yeah. But then we are still going on this person said this person said this person said thing: you can't really yeah exert its verify that scientifically there's some level of he said he said about it in both of the he's our deceased yeah. This point, but it's just unclear of all how important that discovery wise, regardless of ultimately should get the most credit for it. It sounds like a lot of money and is really going to
yeah, the bulk of the money, went directly back into education.
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whose origins are a mystery, but he appears to be a hold over from paganism. They got killed off by the christian church. Church in the same way that churches are often cited on pagan sites of worship in England, at least he's generally associated with churches dedicated to certain things, particularly Mary, he's, probably worth upon cats. By himself, Robin hood has been associated with the green man variously as the green man himself. As an aspect, when a team spirit they both associated with the main games and connected to marry. This entangling the who, what where and how is a hopeless task, but it's worth consideration alongside the purely historical possibilities in this connection, has been touched on in one of them, at least the nineteen nineteen one Robin Hood with Patrick Bargaining permanent, but she might enjoy more than the calving conservation. I can attest that that is true. like having fafnir version. I can testify that is
the death of Robin Hood, where he fires an arrow and is buried where the air lands echoes the story of the giant Pierce shocks, a story. Google to my mother's area, Hertfordshire Robin Haven't outrage devil after that thank you so much Doug providing what're. You are very right in the part about separating out or do you notice entangling all this would be a hopeless task, The reason that I didn't get into it and have said because it here the tv really there's so much method more around green man, then yeah handy its own. I went down agree but brought a whole robin. the green man, Robin Hood, Rabbit Hall were I, while our research dignified gas than once. I find my way back out of it. I was like I just need not didn't. It is going to be a long digression. It's going to be more speculation that anything else, though. That is something that a couple of scholars, especially Melick, Mediaevalism too,
in about lots of different parts of me. We'll culture about span religion and her were kind of pointed out. There like there are searching, swear lots of green man imagery and the church, and that also where some of the first Robin Hood plays State Blake. connections, but a lot of them are pretty. If you dont know why why were they came from sale of hope had cast was Why were the came from soap hope had cast? Was our he really? Secondly, fall dotted lines that then I was like yours even more speculation. So that's why we did not really dive into the green man heart and Robin, but that is something that you can find them. He's on it? It could one day become another upon kept on its debts Thank you very much for writing to us about that. If you are
to write to us about this or any other episode or topic you may we re, could reply faster discovery, dot com for also on twitter, admission history and on Facebook at based, but that calm, slash, history, glass done, find as on Tumblr, missed in history, that tumblr dot com and we are on interest too You would like to learn more about what we talked about today, but the word antibiotics and our search bar. You find Go about how bacteria become resistant to antibiotics. You can learn all of that and a whole lot more at our website, which is asking for more on this and thousands of other topics. How stuff works that call. audible. Dot com is the leading provider of downloadable, digital audio books and spoken word, entertainment, audible,
More than one hundred thousand titles to choose from to be downloaded to your ipod or mp3 player go to. Podcast dot com, slash history, to get a free audio book download of your choice when you sign up today, This is Danny Shapiro, post of the hidden cast family secrets, here to tell you that the new season of my show starts February Sex, I hope you'll join us. incredible conversations about family identity and what happens to both when the secrets that have been kept from us and the secrets we keep finally come to light. listen and subscribe honey. I aren't radio out apple podcast or ever you listen to your favorite broadcasts, dear young,
There is a pod cast coming of age story about finding a home in rock music and learning to flourish in your own weird way. It's also a series of letters of advice to my younger self ass. She navigates ashes, adolescence seals with social inside he body issues and relationships and discovers a transformative power during wrapper comes from double Elvis productions is created, a host of unequal citizen and executive produced by Jake Brennan of disgrace, land, listen to dear young rocker. On the I hurt radio, app apple pod costs or wherever you get your podcast