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"Soil" Theory
Dr. Lawrence Discovery (1949)
Immune System Basics


Dr. H. Sherwood Lawrence:

Transfer Factors and Immunology Pioneer


The knowledge of transfer factors owes its existence to immunology pioneer Dr. H. Sherwood Lawrence. In 1949, Lawrence discovered that by injecting an extract from the leukocytes of someone previously infected with tuberculosis into someone as of yet uninfected with it, immunity was conferred to the recipient, sparing him/her from developing the infection. Dr. Lawrence named the extract transfer factor and the possibility of sharing natural immunity between people and even animals and people became real.


Dr. Lawrence graduated from the NYU School of Medicine in 1943. From 1943 to 1949, he served as a medical intern and then as a medical officer with the U.S. Navy, seeing activity in southern France and Japan and receiving two Bronze Stars.


He served on the faculty of the NYU School of Medicine from 1947 to 1959 and from 1959 until his retirement in 2000, was head of infectious diseases and immunology at NYU. He also served as co-director of medical services at Bellevue and New York University hospitals from 1964 to 2000, director of the NYU cancer center from 1974 to 1979 and director of the NYU AIDS research center from 1989 to 1994.


He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and honorary chairman of the International Transfer Factor Society (ITFS), a scholarly organization committed to the worldwide exchange of information pertaining to the immunologic properties of leukocyte dialysates.


Regrettably, Dr. Lawrence passed away at the age of 87 in Manhattan on April 5, 2004.

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