Allan J Erslev

BMJ 2004; 328 doi: (Published 01 January 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;328:52

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Researcher who discovered erythropoietin to treat anaemia

Although Allan Erslev discovered erythropoietin, he never made a penny from the discovery. The hormone causes the body to make more red blood cells and is now a million-dollar drug to treat anaemia caused by cancer therapy, dialysis, and renal disease.

“Nobody thought about patents in those days. We were doing basic research to help humanity, not for money,” says Dr Jaime Caro, who followed Dr Erslev as head of the Cardeza Foundation for Hematologic Research at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States.

After graduating from medical school at the University of Copenhagen in 1945, Dr Erslev came to the United States for advanced study. He worked first at Sloan-Kettering Institute in New York and did a residency at Yale …

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