Studies in the History of Modern Pharmacology and Drug Therapy: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Studies in the History of Modern Pharmacology and Drug Therapy

1st Edition

By John Parascandola


342 pages

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Hardback: 9781409419761
pub: 2012-01-28
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An acknowledged expert on the history of modern pharmacology and drug therapy, John Parascandola here brings together 19 of his most important papers on these subjects. The book is divided into three topical sections. In the first group of articles, devoted to pharmacological theory, Dr. Parascandola sheds new light on our understanding of the history of such key pharmacological concepts as receptor theory, structure-activity relationships, and the role of stereochemistry in physiological action. The second section focuses on the discipline of pharmacology and offers insights into the pivotal role played by John J. Abel in the shaping of the field, the development of pharmacology in schools of pharmacy and in the Federal Government, and the national pharmacological society's membership ban on pharmacologists working in industry. The final section on drug therapy discusses various drugs from antibiotics to sulfones, and their use in the treatment of diseases such as leprosy and syphilis.


'In our electronic age of databases, search engines, and e-books, it is especially satisfying to read a meticulously researched and masterfully written book containing the most significant articles, in this case, of the distinguished historian of pharmacology, medicine, and science Dr. John Parascandola. This fine anthology draws upon the author’s broad and prolific body of work containing articles that span from 1971 to 2009… Overall, this is a wonderful book that is replete with stories about the pioneers who advanced pharmacology and how their research has made our lives better. This book will be of special interest to scholars, but there is much to offer the general reader, especially in the second and third sections.' Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences '… a remarkably coherent and consistent group of contributions…' Ambix

Table of Contents

Contents: Preface; Part I Pharmacological Science and Theory: Structure-activity relationships: the early mirage; Origins of receptor theory of drug action (with Ronald Jasensky); The controversy over structure-activity relationships in the early 20th century; The evolution of stereochemical concepts in pharmacology; Arthur Cushny, optical isomerism and the mechanism of drug action; Carl Voegtlin and the 'arsenic receptor' in chemotherapy; The theoretical basis of Paul Ehrlich's chemotherapy; The development of receptor theory. Part II Discipline of Pharmacology: John J. Abel and the early development of pharmacology at the John Hopkins University; Development of pharmacology in American schools of pharmacy (with John Swann); The beginnings of pharmacology in the federal government; The 'preposterous provision': the American Society for Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics' ban on industrial pharmacologists, 1908-1941. Part III Drug Therapy: The search for the active oxytocic principal of ergot: laboratory science and clinical medicine in conflict; The introduction of antibiotics into therapeutics; Miracle at Carville: the introduction of the sulfones for the treatment of leprosy; John Mahoney and the introduction of penicillin to treat syphilis; From germs to genes: trends in drug therapy, 1852-2002; Chaulmoogra oil and the treatment of leprosy; From mercury to miracle drugs: syphilis therapy over the centuries; Index.

About the Author

John Parascandola was Public Health Service Historian from 1992 till his retirement in 2004 and is now an Adjunct Professor in the Department of History at the University of Maryland College Park, USA. His work has been recognized by such honors as the Edward Kremers Award and the George Urdang Medal of the American Institute of the History of Pharmacy and the Edelstein Award for Outstanding Achievement in the History of Chemistry of the Division of the History of Chemistry of the American Chemical Society.

About the Series

Variorum Collected Studies

The first title in the Variorum Collected Studies series was published in 1970. Since then well over 1000 titles have appeared in the series, and it has established a well-earned international reputation for the publication of key research across a whole range of subjects within the fields of history.

The history of the medieval world remains central to the series, with Byzantine studies a particular speciality, but the range of titles extends from Hellenistic philosophy and the history of the Roman empire and early Christianity, through the Renaissance and Reformation, up to the 20th century. Islamic Studies forms another major strand as do the histories of science, technology and medicine.

Each title in the Variorum Collected Studies series brings together for the first time a selection of articles by a leading authority on a particular subject. These studies are reprinted from a vast range of learned journals, Festschrifts and conference proceedings. They make available research that is scattered, even inaccessible in all but the largest and most specialized libraries. With a new introduction and index, and often with new notes and previously unpublished material, they constitute an essential resource. 

For further information about contributing to the series please contact Michael Greenwood at

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
MEDICAL / History