Structure-Activity Rules and the Receptor Hypothesis

  • Fred E. Hahn
Conference paper
Part of the Topics in Infectious Diseases book series (TIDIS, volume 1)


Chemotherapy as a science began with the postulation of the receptor hypothesis by Paul Ehrlich. His famous doctrine, corpora non agunt nisi fixata, substances do not act unless they are bound, should perhaps today be rephrased to say, corpora agunt quia fixata, substances do act because they are bound. Through much of his scientific life, Ehrlich propounded his embattled side chain theory in order to explain the interaction of chemotherapeutic drugs with bioreceptors which were still hypothetical. Ehrlich’s early observations of vital staining offered the first visible evidence of selective binding of chemicals to bioreceptors, and his demonstration, in 1891 (Guttmann and Ehrlich, 1891), of the therapeutic value of methylene blue in the treatment of vivax malaria was directly based upon the selective staining properties of this dye for malarial parasites.


Double Helix Vivax Malaria Scatchard Plot Hill Plot Alanine Racemase 
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© Springer-Verlag/Wien 1975

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  • Fred E. Hahn

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