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Johannes Fibiger

Johannes FibigerAKA Johannes Andreas Grib Fibiger

Born: 23-Apr-1867
Birthplace: Silkeborg, Denmark
Died: 30-Jan-1928
Location of death: Copenhagen, Denmark
Cause of death: Heart Failure
Remains: Buried, Garnison's Cemetery, Copenhagen, Denmark

Gender: Male
Religion: Lutheran
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist, Doctor

Nationality: Denmark
Executive summary: Caused cancer in lab rats

Military service: Danish Army Medical Corps (1894-97)

Danish pathologist and physician Johannes Fibiger conducted important research into diphtheria, tuberculosis, and cancer. He won the 1926 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his finding that the nematode Spiroptera carcinoma, which infests cockroaches, causes gastric tumors in rats when the rats eat the roaches.

Later research has shown that Fibiger was mistaken -- a deficiency of Vitamin A caused the cancers in some of Fibiger's rats. The microscopic roundworms are now known to stimulate formation of tumors in cancerous cells, but they are not the cause of the cancer, since they do not trigger tumor formation in healthy cells. The nematode, called Spiroptera carcinoma in Fibiger's lifetime, has since been re-named Gongylonema neoplasticum. Perhaps embarrassed by Fibiger's Nobel Prize, it was forty years before the Nobel Foundation again offered its honors for cancer research.

Fibiger was, however, the first scientist to induce cancer in lab animals, which was an meaningful advance in cancer research. It helped gain acceptance for the idea that cancer is caused by tissue irritation, and led other scientists to produce chemical carcinogens for use in cancer research.

He married his cousin, Mathilde Fibiger, who was related closely enough to her husband that her maiden name was also Fibiger. She was not related to the famous Danish feminist of the same name.

Father: Christian Emanuel August Fibiger (physician, b. 1819, d. 1873)
Mother: Christine Dorothea Michelle Elfride Müller Fibiger (writer, b. 1832, d.)
Brother: Jørgen Nis Fibiger (architect, b. 23-Apr-1867 twin, d. 23-Oct-1836)
Wife: Mathilde Fibiger (teacher, b. 20-Jan-1863, m. 4-Aug-1894, d. 17-Oct-1954)
Daughter: Asta Betty Fibiger (b. 6-Aug-1900, d.)

    University: BA, University of Copenhagen (1883)
    Teacher: MD, University of Copenhagen (1890)
    Medical School: Bacteriology, University of Copenhagen (1891-94)
    University: PhD, University of Copenhagen (1895)
    Teacher: Pathological anatomy, University of Copenhagen (1897-1900)
    Professor: Pathological anatomy, University of Copenhagen (1900-28)

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1926
    Grand Cross of the Order of Dannebrog
    Danish Ancestry

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