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Johannes Fibiger
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Doctor
    (April 23, 1867-January 30, 1928)
    Born in Silkeborg, Denmark
    Physician and pathologist
    President of the Danish Medical Society
    Know for his studies of diphtheria and cancer
    Won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for demonstrating that the roundworm Gongylonema neoplasticum caused stomach cancer in rats and mice (1926)
    His wife Mathilde was a cousin so closely related that her last name was Fibiger even before their marriage.
    After his death, further research showed that the tumors in the rats were non-cancerous.
    In addition, the tumors had not been caused by the roundworms but were a result of the rats being fed a diet deficient in vitamin A.
    Reportedly, embarrassment over the error kept the Nobel Prize Committee from honoring achievements in cancer research for another four decades.
    It turns out that roundworms related to G. neoplasticum can caused cancer in mammals (including humans), so he was on the right track.
    His test of a blood serum to treat diphtheria is considered the first controlled clinical trial in medicine (1898).
    Given the importance of clinical trials in medical research, one could argue he did earn a Nobel Prize, even if the Prize Committee honored the wrong research.

Credit: C. Fishel


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