Letter from Florence B. Seibert to Florence R. Sabin
Seibert was a fellow member of the National Tuberculosis Association's Research Committee. Here she writes to Sabin about
her plans to test further the effects of tubercle cell components on immune system response, and mentions the skepticism of
Dr. Boissevain, another research committee member.
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1936-12-24 (December 24, 1936)
Seibert, Florence B.
Sabin, Florence R.
Original Repository: American Philosophical Society. Library. Florence R. Sabin Papers
Reproduced with permission of the American Philosophical Society.
Medical Subject Headings (MeSH):
At the Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research, 1925-1938
Seibert, Florence, #1
December 24, 1936.
Dear Dr. Sabin:
First let me thank you for the beautiful Christmas Greeting card. I have saved them all for many previous years and I now
have a collection of real pieces of art.
Dr. Long has turned over your letter to me. I am, therefore, undertaking an experiment which, of course, we have all had
in mind for a long time -- i.e., to attempt to find some way of sensitizing uninfected animals with purified fractions or
mixtures of them, to a degree approximating the sensitization occurring in a tuberculous animal. Since it was found last
year that the non-antigenic PPD could be rendered antigenic by adsorption to aluminum hydroxide or charcoal, it is logical
to try to increase the antigenicity of my antigenic fractions in the same way. In another series I will mix the antigenic
protein with phosphatide to simulate the whole bacillus. After sensitization of the animals I will test their degree of sensitiveness
with PPD and finally, if increased, I will note whether they respond with the Koch phenomenon to an injection of live bacilli.
We have repeatedly stressed this discrepancy between the degree of sensitization evident in infected animals and those uninfected
but sensitized with protein fractions. You recall that Dr. Boissevain insisted this was the one thing he had against my work.
When he visited our laboratory the day after the meeting at your laboratory he repeated this statement. A lively discussion
followed in which I had an excellent opportunity to stress serious weaknesses in conclusions he has drawn from his own work
and also to emphasize my great admiration for the work you and Dr. Anderson are doing and its undoubted value for further
work in tuberculosis. He finally said if all I said was true he would have to take back what he said about Dr. Anderson,
but he wasn't sure yet. So I believe with time he will understand it sufficiently to see its value.
With the very best wishes for continued success in the New Year,