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The Nazis discovered it. The Allies won the war with it. It conquered diseases, changed laws, and single-handedly launched the era of antibiotics. This incredible discovery was sulfa, the first antibiotic. In The Demon Under the Microscope, Thomas Hager chronicles the dramatic history of the drug that shaped modern medicine. Sulfa saved millions of lives—among them those of Winston Churchill and Franklin Delano Roosevelt Jr.—but its real effects are even more far reaching. Sulfa changed the way new drugs were developed, approved, and sold; transformed the way doctors treated patients; and ushered in the era of modern medicine. The very concept that chemicals created in a lab could cure disease revolutionized medicine, taking it from the treatment of symptoms and discomfort to the eradication of the root cause of illness. A strange and colorful story, The Demon Under the Microscope illuminates the vivid characters, corporate strategy, individual idealism, careful planning, lucky breaks, cynicism, heroism, greed, hard work, and the central (though mistaken) idea that brought sulfa to the world. This is a fascinating scientific tale with all the excitement and intrigue of a great suspense novel. For thousands of years, humans had sought medicines with which they could defeat contagion, and they had slowly, painstakingly, won a few battles: some vaccines to ward off disease, a handful of antitoxins. A drug or two was available that could stop parasitic diseases once they hit, tropical maladies like malaria and sleeping sickness. But the great killers of Europe, North America, and most of Asia—pneumonia, plague, tuberculosis, diphtheria, cholera, meningitis—were caused not by parasites but by bacteria, much smaller, far different microorganisms. By 1931, nothing on earth could stop a bacterial infection once it started. . . . But all that was about to change. . . . —from The Demon Under the Microscope From the Hardcover edition.
The surprising, behind-the-scenes story of how our medicines are discovered, told by a veteran drug hunter. The search to find medicines is as old as disease, which is to say as old as the human race. Through serendipity— by chewing, brewing, and snorting—some Neolithic souls discovered opium, alcohol, snakeroot, juniper, frankincense, and other helpful substances. Ötzi the Iceman, the five-thousand-year-old hunter frozen in the Italian Alps, was found to have whipworms in his intestines and Bronze-age medicine, a worm-killing birch fungus, knotted to his leggings. Nowadays, Big Pharma conglomerates spend billions of dollars on state-of the art laboratories staffed by PhDs to discover blockbuster drugs. Yet, despite our best efforts to engineer cures, luck, trial-and-error, risk, and ingenuity are still fundamental to medical discovery. The Drug Hunters is a colorful, fact-filled narrative history of the search for new medicines from our Neolithic forebears to the professionals of today, and from quinine and aspirin to Viagra, Prozac, and Lipitor. The chapters offer a lively tour of how new drugs are actually found, the discovery strategies, the mistakes, and the rare successes. Dr. Donald R. Kirsch infuses the book with his own expertise and experiences from thirty-five years of drug hunting, whether searching for life-saving molecules in mudflats by Chesapeake Bay or as a chief science officer and research group leader at major pharmaceutical companies.
"Immigrant American soldiers played an important role in World War I. Matthew Guerra (the author's great uncle) immigrated to America from Italy around age 12. He was drafted into the U.S. Army in 1918 and shipped to France, where he joined the 58th Infantry Regiment of the 4th "Ivy" Division. Wounded by shrapnel, the 22-year-old died"--
The 'golden age' for antibiotic discovery, from 1940 until the early 1970s, ushered in a new era in human- and animal-health and the associated dramatic increase in human life expectancies. Indeed the possibility of eradicating infectious disease seemed feasible. However it soon became apparent that microorganisms wouldn't be defeated so easily. Their weapon: antibiotic resistance. Today microbial antibiotic resistance is rapidly exhausting our supply of effective compounds and making the possibility of a global public health disaster seems likely. The urgency of this situation has spawned a plethora of new multi-disciplinary research initiatives looking for novel antibiotics and other antimicrobial agents. In this timely book respected international experts summarize the most important research to provide a timely overview of the field. Opening chapters define 'antibiotic', explain why we need new compounds, outline the applications of antibiotics, both old and new, and describe the producing microbes. These are followed by chapters that cover antibiotic resistance, toxicity, overuse, new antimicrobial sources, new targets, novel technologies for antibiotic discovery (e.g. silent gene clusters), lantibiotics, natural antivirals, new macrolide derivatives, and antibiotics in the pipeline. This book is essential reading for everyone working in antimicrobial research in academia, biotechnology companies, and the pharmaceutical industry and a recommended volume for all microbiology libraries.
From cooking to medicine, from engineering to art, chemistry—the science of molecules—is everywhere. A celebration of the molecules of chemistry, Every Molecule Tells a Story celebrates the molecules responsible for the experiences of everyday life: the air we breathe; the water we drink; the chemicals that fuel our living; the steroids that give us sex; the colours of the seasons; the drugs that heal us; and the scented molecules that enrich our diet and our encounters with each other. You can’t see them, but you know that they are there. Unveiling the structures of poisonous "natural" substances and beneficial man-made molecules, this book brushes away any preconceived notions about chemistry to demonstrate why and how molecules matter.
- More than 6,500 books in the initial clothbound volume, plus more than 2,400 new titles in four annual supplements. - New coverage of biographies, art, sports, Islam and the Middle East, and cultural diversity. - Special focus on graphic novels, primary source materials, nonbook materials, and periodicals. - Analytic entries for items in collections and anthologies.

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