Giants in History: Ruby Sakae Hirose

Developing potent vaccines  

Ruby Sakae Hirose ( 1904 - 1960)


Ruby Sakae Hirose (1904 – 1960) was a Japanese-American scientist whose research contributed significantly to our understanding of blood clotting, allergies and cancer. Her research on serums and antitoxins paved the way for the development of effective vaccines for polio and other infectious diseases. In addition, her research on allergic reactions enabled Hirose to improve the pollen extracts used to desensitize hay fever sufferers and reduce their symptoms. Hirose also discovered that thrombin, an enzyme integral to clot formation, exists in an active and inactive forms. From her research on cancer, Hirose proved that some chemotherapy drugs can inhibit cancer by stopping cancer cell growth or DNA replication. Although Hirose faced several family tragedies and discrimination, she overcame the odds and became the first second-generation Japanese-American to graduate from her high school, and was awarded a fellowship during her PhD studies at the University of Cincinnati. 


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