During the past two years at the Peter Bent Brigham Hospital, we have been investigating the cause of bronchial asthma and our study of its causation has led to a consideration also of the treatment of this disease. Because of the close relationship between the symptoms of bronchial asthma in man and those of anaphylaxis in animals, we have been interested chiefly in the part played by protein sensitization as a cause of bronchial asthma. A few words will outline the pioneer observations which have linked together the symptoms of these two conditions.
The earliest observation having direct bearing on protein anaphylaxis is found in the writings of Magendie in 1839. He describes the sudden death of dogs which had been repeatedly injected with egg albumin. The next observation was in 1894 by Flexner, who noted that animals would succumb to a second dose of dog serum if some days