Timeline of immunology

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This is a timeline of immunology.

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Time period Development summary
1980s Scientists begin the rapid identification of genes for immune cells that continues to the present.[1]

Full timeline

Year Event type Details Country/region
430 BC Intimations already suggest that if one survives a disease, the person thereafter becomes "immune" to any subsequent exposures.[1]
1700 A procedure for immunization becomes established in China. The technique is called variolation, derived from the name of the infective agent—the variola virus.[1] China
1798 English physician Edward Jenner pioneers smallpox vaccination.[1][2][3][4]
1840 German physician Friedrich Gustav Jakob Henle proposes a germ theory of disease.[5][6][7]
1862 German biologist Ernst Haeckel recognizes phagocytosis.[3][4] Germany
1874 Moritz Traube and Richard Gscheidlen inject micro-organisms into the blood and find that micro-organisms are rapidly destroyed and bloodstream maintain its sterility.[3]
1877 German Jewish physician Paul Ehrlich first describes mast cells.[8][1][3][4]
1879 French biologist Louis Pasteur pioneers vaccinations to immunity against viral diseases. France
1883 Russian zoologist Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov theorizes that cells are involved in the defense of the body. Metchnikoff introduces the concept of cell-mediated or cellular immunity.[1][2][9][4]
1884 W. Grohmann notes that cell-free serum is capable of killing microorganism in vitro.[3]
1888 French bacteriologists Pierre Paul Émile Roux and Alexandre Yersin discover bacterial toxin, by isolating a toxin secreted by corynebacterium diphtheriae and showing that the toxin—and not the microorganism—gives rise to the symptoms of diphteria.[10][3][4] France
1888 American-British bacteriologist George Nuttall inoculates defibrinated blood with bacteria and shows that outside the body, serum retains its bactericidal activity.[3][4]
1889 Hans Buchner first identifies a principle in fresh blood that he terms as "alexin" and is capable of killing bacteria.[3]
1889 German bacteriologist Richard Friedrich Johannes Pfeiffer conducts a series of experiments that allow the understanding of bactericidal action of serum.[3] Germany
1891 Robert Koch discovers delayed type hypersensitivity.[1][2][4]
1894 Richard Pfeiffer discovers the phenomenon of bacteriolysis.[4]
1900 Paul Ehrlich theorizes about some of the events taking place in immune cells, postulating that cells interact with toxins via "side chains" that stem from protoplasm.[3][4]
1900 Austrian biologist Karl Landsteiner discovers ABO blood group system.[3]
1902 Charles Richet coins the term anaphylaxis to describe the most dangerous allergic reaction.[2][3][4]
1903 British bacteriologists Almroth Wright and Stewart Douglas discover opsonins.[11][12][4] United Kingdom
1904 Julius Donath and Karl Landsteiner describe the role of antiself red blood cell antibodies in the pathogenesis of paroxysmal cold hemoglobinuria.[13]
1906 Clemens von Pirquet coins the term allergy.[1][2][3][4]
1907 Svante Arrhenius coins the term immunochemistry.[2][3]
1910 English pharmacologist Henry Hallett Dale identifies histamine, a body chemical responsible for many allergic reactions.[14][15] United Kingdom
1910 Peyton Rous develops his viral immunology theory.[4]
1916 Robert Cooke and Albert Vander Veer report having successfully immunized patients allergic to a variety of grasses, including orchard grass, June grass, and sweet vernal grass.[16]
1917 Scientific development Austrian scientist Karl Landsteiner publishes results of an exhaustive study of haptens, contributing greatly to the knowledge of antigen-antibody reactions.[17][18][19][20][3][4]
1921 Carl Prausnitz and Heinz Küstner discover that components in the blood can reproduce food allergy reactions.[2][3]
1924 Ludwig Aschoff adopts the term reticuloendothelial system (RES).[3][21][22][4]
1926 Lloyd D. Felton isolates pure antibody preparation.[3]
1930 Elvin Kabat for the first time reports that gamma globulin, also called immunoglobulin, of serum acts as an active component and is mainly responsible for immunological activity after infection.[3][9]
1930 Friedrich Breinl and Felix Haurowitz propose the instructional theory, based on the protein folding hypothesis. According to this theory, the specificity of the antibody is determined by the antigen that provides a template to fold the antibody around itself.[9]
1934 John Marrack advances the antigen-antibody binding hypothesis.[3]
1936 Peter Gorer identifies the H-2 antigen in mice.[3]
1937 Italian pharmacologist Daniel Bovet, working at Pasteur Institute, becomes the first to describe the activity of antihistamines.[23][24][25][26] France
1938 John Marrack expounds the antigen-antibody binding hypothesis.[27][1]
1940 Karl Landsteiner and Alexander S. Weiner identify Rh antigens.[3]
1940 Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov's hypothesis that the main cause of immunity in the immunized animals is active cells rather than the serum components is strengthened by the experimental proof given by Merrill Chase.[9]
1941 American immunologist Albert Coons initiates a major revolution in immunology and cell biology for developing a technique for labeling specific antibodies with fluorescent dyes.[28] Coons and his collaborators first describe the possible use of fluorescent antibody for the detection of antigens in situ.[29][30]
1942 Hungarian born American immunologist Jules Freund and Katherine McDermott publish a paper on their experiments on immunization of guinea pigs with horse serum containing killed tubercle bacilli and adjuvant.[31] Their paper is generally considered to be a landmark in immunology.[32][1]
1943 Journal The monthly peer-reviewed medical journal Annals of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology is established.[33] United States
1944 Peter Medawar develops the immunological hypothesis of allograft rejection.[1]
1948 Astrid Fagraeus demonstrates the production of antibodies in plasma B cells.[1]
1948 George Snell develops congenic strains of mice.[34][1][35]
1949 Australian scientists Frank Macfarlane Burnet and Frank Fenner hypothesize that developing antigen-reactive cells are susceptible to tolerance induction.[13][36][1] Australia
1949 – 1957 British biologist Peter Medawar and Frank Macfarlane Burnet discover how the immune system rejects or accept organ transplantation, and develop the immunological tolerance hypothesis, which is created as a platform for developing methods of transplanting solid organs.[27]
1950 Howard Gershon and Koichi S. Kondo discover suppressor T cells.[3]
1953 J.F. Riley and G.B. West first report localization of histamine in mast cells.[37][38][39]
1953 The Graft-versus-host disease is first described.[4]
1953 British scientists Rupert E. Billingham, Leslie Brent, and Peter Medawar demonstrate the induction of immunological nonresponsiveness by injecting neonatal mice with foreign cells.[13] United Kingdom
1953 The immunological tolerance hypothesis is developed.[4]
1953 – 1978 Michael Heidelberg and Oswald Avery show that polysaccharides of pneumococcus are antigens, enabling to show that antibodies are proteins.[27]
1956 Niels Kaj Jerne, David Talmage and Frank Macfarlane Burnet develop the clonal selection hypothesis, which proposes that before a lumphocyte ever encounters an antigen, the lymphocyte has specific receptors for that antigen on its surface.[27]
1956 – 1961 Baruj Benacerraf, Jean Dausset, and George Davis Snell discover genetically-determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions.[40][41][42][27]
1957 British virologist Alick Isaacs and Suiss colleague Jean Lindemann discover interferon.[43][1][44][4]
1957 German-American immunologist Ernest Witebsky and Noel Rose publish the initial description of antiself antibodies, leading to an autoimmune disease (Hashimoto's thyroiditis).[13] United States
1958 – 1962 Gerald M. Edelman and Rodney R. Porter discover human leukocyte antigens and antibody structure, thymus involvement in cellular immunity and T and B cell cooperation in immune response.[27][4]
1958 French immunologist Jean Dausset discovers the first human protein that allows the body's immune system to distinguish its own cells from foreign cells.[45][46][47]
1959 British biochemist Rodney Robert Porter discovers the antibody structure.[4]
1959 British immunologist James Learmonth Gowans discovers lymphocyte circulation.[4]
1959 Danish immunologist Niels Kaj Jerne, American immunologist David Talmage, and Australian virologist Frank Macfarlane Burnet develop clonal selection theory.[1]
1962 Rodney Robert Porter proposes a basic four-chain model for immunoglobulin molecules.[1][48][49][50]
1962 Team led by Australian scientist Jacques Miller discovers thymus involvement in cellular immunity.[1][4]
1962 Scientific development Noel Warmer and Alexander Szenberg in Australia, and Max Cooper in the United States, experimenting with chicken, are able to report that the bursa and the thymus are responsible for different immunological functions.[51][52][53][1] Australia, United States
1964 Anthony Davis identifies T and B cell cooperation in immune response.
1967 Japanese immunologists Teruko Ishizaka and Kimishige Ishizaka identify immunoglobulin E (IgE), the allergy antibody.[54][55][56][57]
1968 Anthony Davis and team discover T cell and B cell cooperation in immune response.[58][1]
1972 The structure of the antibody molecule is revealed.[4]
1974 Rolf M. Zinkernagel and Peter C. Doherty discover how the immune system recognizes virus-infected cells.[1]
1975 Cesar Milstein, Georges J.F. Köhler and Niels K. Jerne develop theories concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system and the discovery of the principle for production of monoclonal antibodies. This discovery would lead to an enormous expansion in the exploitation of antibodies in science an medicine.[27][4]
1976 Japanese scientist Susumu Tonegawa discovers a genetic principle for generation of antibody diversity.[27][4]
1980 Journal The American Journal of Reproductive Immunology is launched.[59] United States
1980 Journal Peer-reviewed academic journal Human Immunology is launched.[60] United States
1985 Susumu Tonegawa and Leroy Hood identify immunoglobulin genes.[1]
1985 Leroy Hood identifies genes for the T. cell receptor.
1986 Journal The International Reviews of Immunology is first published.[61]
1987 " Leroy Hood and team identify genes for the T cell receptor."[1]
1990 American biologist Leroy Hood identifies genes for the T-cell receptor.[62]
1990 Gene therapy for severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID) is developed.[4]
1994 French immunologist Polly Matzinger develops the "danger" model of immunological tolerance.[4]
1995 Japanese immunologist Shimon Sakaguchi discovers regulatory T cells.[4] Japan
1996 – 1998 Toll-like receptors are identified.[4]
2000 United States Food and Drug Administration approves the first anti-IgE drug, rhu-MAb-E25.[63][64]

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