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Milestones in Erythropoietin

An article on the story of erythropoeitin by John W. Adamson, MD, and these accompanying milestones were published in December 2008 as part of the special ASH anniversary brochure, 50 Years in Hematology: Research That Revolutionized Patient Care.

1836 Richard Bright describes anemia as a complication of renal (kidney) failure.
1863 Denis Jourdanet describes an association between an overproduction of red blood cells, called polycythemia, and people living in the low-oxygen environment of high elevations.
1906 Paul Carnot and C. Deflandre describe the existence of a hormone responsible for erythropoiesis: "We have observed, with Mlle. Deflandre, that regeneration of blood after bloodletting is under the influence of a humoral process [a process controlled by a substance in the blood]…we give this substance the generic name Hemopoietine."
1940s C.L. Krumdieck and other investigators report evidence that a factor in anemic or hypoxic (low oxygen) plasma could increase the release of young red blood cells (reticulocytes).
1950 K.R. Reissman provides evidence of the presence of a humoral mechanism by experiments in surgically-connected rats in which he demonstrates that when one partner is made hypoxic, marrow erythropoiesis is increased in the partner rat with normal oxygenation.
1953 Allan J. Erslev confirms an erythropoietic-stimulating activity in the plasma of anemic rabbits, which he theorizes would be of potential therapeutic value if isolated.
1957 Leon O. Jacobson, Eugene Goldwasser, Walter Fried, and Louis F. Plzak establish that the kidney produces erythropoietin.
1977 Takaji Miyake, Charles Kung, and Eugene Goldwasser purify human erythropoietin from the urine of patients with aplastic anemia.
1983 Two groups of scientists, one under the leadership of Fu-Kuen Lin and the other under Kenneth Jacobs, clone and express the human erythropoietin gene.
1986 Joseph W. Eschbach, John W. Adamson, and colleagues in the U.S., and Christopher G. Winearls and colleagues in England, establish that recombinant human erythropoietin can correct the anemia of chronic renal disease.
1988 Mark J. Koury and colleagues, as well as Catherine LaCombe and colleagues, demonstrate the presence of erythropoietin RNA in kidney and liver cells and large white blood cells called macrophages.
1989 The first recombinant human erythropoietin is approved by the FDA for the treatment of renal anemia.
1990s Epo is approved for use in treating anemia in some patients with marrow disorders who fail to respond to naturally generated levels of erythropoietin, but who respond to the higher levels achieved with the pharmacologic product.