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Milestones in
Experimental Medicine



1796Edward Jenner demonstrates that an infection with cowpox virus results in immunity to smallpox.



1876Robert Koch shows that microbes can cause disease.

1877Mast cells are discovered by Paul Erlich.



1883Ilya Mechnikov first describes phagocytosis.



1896 – Journal of Experimental Medicine founded.
Shows the cover of the first published JEM journal. links to that issue in the archive.



1906The first case of Alzheimer's disease is described by Alios Alzheimer.



1911Peyton Rous describes sarcoma of the fowl leading to the discovery of oncogenes.

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1918The first cases of Spanish flu are documented.



1921Discovery of insulin.

1928Penicillin discovered by Alexander Flemming.



1937Alexis Carrel describes how to culture whole living organs ex vivo.

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1941Karl Landsteiner describes human blood groups and the genetic rules that govern blood transfusion.

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1942Jules Freund and Katherine McDermott discover adjuvants.

1944 DNA shown to be the molecule which carries genetic information.
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1948Plasma B cells first demonstrated to be involved in antibody generation.

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1953The structure of DNA is discovered.



1961First description of the involvment of the thymus in cellular immunity.
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1964T and B cells are shown to cooperate in the immune response.

1964Epstein-Barr Virus linked to human cancer for the first time.

1964Grey and Kunkel identify of discrete subclasses of IgG.

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1967First successful heart transplant is completed.



1973Ralph Steinman first identifies DCs.
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and here

1975Monoclonal antibodies are generated.

1975 NK cells discovered.



1983Discovery of the T cell antigen receptor.

1983HIV is identified.

1986Th1 vs Th2 model of T helper cell function.

1989Discovery of HCV as the causative agent of Hepatitis C.



1990First application of gene therapy.

1995 First descriptions of checkpoint inhibitors.

(See also van Elsas et al., 1999 and Freeman et al., 2000.)

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1995 Regulatory T cells discovered.

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1996Identification of Toll-like receptors.



2004Discovery of Th17 cells.
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2009Several distinct ILC populations described.



2012First application of CRISPR/Cas9 technology to gene editing.

2017The first autologous CAR T-cell therapy.

2019COVID-19 pandemic.



2020Covid-19 vaccine.

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