1893 - 1973

Pernicious anaemia

Pernicious anaemia is a condition that results in vitamin B12 deficiency. This leads to abnormally reduced levels of healthy red blood cells, which are needed to carry oxygen in our body. Additionally, it may lead to problems in the nervous system, which can cause, for example, memory loss. While now we can treat pernicious anaemia, before the origin of the disease was known and a treatment was discovered, this was a deadly disease.

The pathologist Frieda Robscheit-Robbins, together with George Hoyt Whipple, extensively researched anaemia. They investigated anaemia in dogs, and discovered that a diet with abundant liver cured it.

In 1934, Whipple, received the Novel Price in Physiology or Medicine "for their discoveries concerning liver therapy in cases of anaemia." He shared the prize with George R. Minot and William P. Murphy, who implemented the findings in the clinic. However, Frieda Robscheit-Robbins was not included.

While Whipple gave credit to Robscheit-Robbins and shared the Nobel Prize money with her, we may agree that Frieda did not receive the global credit that she deserved.

Written by: Enriqueta Vallejo-Yagüe.