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Johannes Fibiger

Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger
Born (1867-04-23)23 April 1867
Died 30 January 1928(1928-01-30) (aged 60)
Nationality Danish
Known for Cancer Research
Notable awards 1926 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger (23 April 1867 – 30 January 1928) was a Katsusaburo Yamagiwa, only two years later in 1915 successfully induced squamous cell carcinoma by painting crude coal tar on the inner surface of rabbits' ears. Yamagiwa's work has become the primary basis for this line of research.[1] Because of this, some consider Fibiger's Nobel Prize to be undeserved particularly because Yamagiwa did not receive the prize.[2] Encyclopædia Britannica's guide to Nobel Prizes in cancer research mentions Yamagiwa's work as a milestone without mentioning Fibiger.[3]


  • Biography 1
  • Research 2
  • References 3
  • Further reading 4
  • External links 5


Fibiger became a medical doctor in 1890 and studied under Robert Koch and Emil Adolf von Behring in Berlin. He received his research doctorate from the University of Copenhagen in 1895 and became a professor of Pathological Anatomy and Director of the Institute of Anatomic Pathology (1900) at the same University.[4]


While studying vitamin A deficiency and this was the main cause of the tumors. The parasites had merely caused the tissue irritation that drove the damaged cells into cancer; any tissue irritation could have induced the tumors.[5][6][7]

Although the specific link between parasites and cancer was largely ignored, it was discovered later that tissue damage by parasites causes cancer. This was an important advance in cancer research, helminthology and epidemiology. Parasites such as Schistosoma haematobium, Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis are now established to cause cancer in humans.[8][9]

One of his experiments from 1898 is regarded by some as the first controlled clinical trial.[10]

Rather ironically, he died of colon cancer.[11]


  1. ^ "Katsusaburo Yamagiwa (1863–1930)". CA: A Cancer Journal for Clinicians 27 (3): 172. 1977.  
  2. ^ James R. Bartholomew. "Katsusaburo Yamagiwa’s Nobel candidacy: Physiology or medicine in the 1920s". explores the candidacy of Yamagiwa, who had developed the world’s first efficient method for producing cancer artificially in the laboratory by swabbing coal tar on rabbits’ ears, which had stimulated activity among cancer researchers worldwide. Johannes Fibiger of Denmark, who discovered how to use parasites to cause cancer in rats two years before Yamagiwa’s achievement, received the prize, probably because nominations were often greatly influenced by acquaintanceship, geography, and the marginalization that distance from other centers imposed on the Japanese. 
  3. ^ Guide to Nobel Prize. Retrieved on 25 September 2010.
  4. ^ Johannes Fibiger – Biography. (30 January 1928). Retrieved on 25 September 2010.
  5. ^ Clemmesen J (1978). "Johannes Fibiger. Gongylonema and vitamin A in carcinogenesis". Acta Pathol Microbiol Scand Suppl. (270): 1–13.  
  6. ^ Stolley PD, Lasky T (1992). "Johannes Fibiger and his Nobel Prize for the hypothesis that a worm causes stomach cancer". Ann Intern Med 116 (9): 765–769.  
  7. ^ Modlin IM, Kidd M, Hinoue T (2001). "Of Fibiger and fables: a cautionary tale of cockroaches and Helicobacter pylori". J Clin Gastroenterol 33 (3): 177–179.  
  8. ^ Fried B, Reddy A, Mayer D (2010). "Helminths in human carcinogenesis". Cancer Lett 305 (2): 239–249.  
  9. ^ Young ND, Campbell BE, Hall RS, Jex AR, Cantacessi C, Laha T, Sohn WM, Sripa B, Loukas A, Brindley PJ, Gasser RB (2010). "Opisthorchis viverrini and Clonorchis sinensis"Unlocking the transcriptomes of two carcinogenic parasites, . PLoS Negl Trop Dis 4 (6): e719.  
  10. ^ A. Hrobjartsson,  
  11. ^ Petithory JC, Théodoridès J, Brumpt L (1997). "A challenged Nobel Prize: Johannes Fibiger, 1926". Hist Sci Med 31 (1): 87–95.  

Further reading

  • Nobel Lectures, Physiology or Medicine 1922–1941, Elsevier Publishing Company, Amsterdam, 1965.
  • Modlin, I M; Kidd, M; Hinoue, T (2001). "Of Fibiger and fables: a cautionary tale of cockroaches and Helicobacter pylori". J. Clin. Gastroenterol. (September 2001) 33 (3): 177–9.  
  • Gluud, C N (1998). "[Centenary of Fibiger's controlled clinical trial]". Ugeskr. Laeg. (14 December 1998) 160 (51): 7407–8.  
  • Raju, T N (1998). "The Nobel chronicles. 1926: Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger (1867–1928)".  
  • Stolley, P D; Lasky, T (1992). "Johannes Fibiger and his Nobel Prize for the hypothesis that a worm causes stomach cancer". Ann. Intern. Med. (1 May 1992) 116 (9): 765–9.  

External links

  • Nobel Prize Biography
  • WhoNamedItBiography from
  • YourDictionaryBiography from
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