Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Another Nobel for the New Germ Theory of disease   posted by agnostic @ 10/07/2008 09:41:00 PM

In 2005, Barry Marshall and J. Robin Warren won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for showing that a pathogen was behind the common diseases gastritis and peptic ulcers. Now the 2008 Prize goes to Harald zur Hausen, who showed that pathogens cause the common disease cervical cancer. As far as theory is concerned, these findings are not surprising (PDF). The most recent New Germ Theory winner before these two was Peyton Rous in 1966, whose work on cancer-causing pathogens began in 1911. You might also count Johannes Fibiger's 1926 Prize for what was thought to be a cancer-causing nematode.

And two of the early winners -- Koch in 1905 and Laveran in 1907 -- contributed to the Original Germ Theory of disease. So after 100 years, perhaps people are finally starting to take the idea seriously? Common disease-common variant researchers in human genetics may get more media coverage, including the science media, but the Germ Theory people are cleaning up where it counts.