Everyone knows what their blood group is, but obviously at one point of time this was not known to anyone. In fact, people didn't even know that there were different kinds of blood groups. Back in the 1800s, knowledge about medical science and the human body was limited - researchers were still trying to find out how the body worked and what made it run. An Austrian and American biologist and physician, Karl Landsteiner found that often when the blood of two different people was mixed it developed the tendency to destroy the red blood cells. He started this experiment by first transferring the blood of animals into his research subjects. On doing so he discovered that these foreign blood corpuscles get clumped and broken up in the blood vessels of humans. The next stage of his research was trying to transfer the blood of another human into his human research subjects. When he found similar results he realized that this could lead to shock, jaundice and hemoglobin in the subject which could be life threatening.
In 1909, he was successful in classifying human blood into different types which are very well known today - A, B, AB and O groups. This research proved that blood transfusions between people of the same blood group do not lead to destruction of blood cells. Based on his findings the first successful blood transfusion was made in 1907 by Reuben Ottenberg at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
About Karl Landsteiner:
Karl Landsteiner was born in Vienna on June 14, 1868. His father, Leopold Landsteiner was a well-known journalist and newspaper publisher. He graduated in 1891, and even as a student he was devoted to conducting biochemical research. He published a paper that same year on the influence of diet on the composition of blood ash. He came back to Vienna in 1896 to continue his studies and experimentation and was accepted under Max Von Gruber at the Hygiene Institute. By this time he had developed a keen interest in understanding the workings of immunity and the nature of antibodies.
During his life Landsteiner made many significant contributions to pathological anatomy, histology and immunology but he will always be remembered for discovering the blood groups. For this finding he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology in 1930.
About the author:
The author of this blog is Samar Rustogi. Although he is a student of Business Management he has a keen interest in everything that goes around the world. A voracious reader he likes exploring new places and new topics of interest.