Did you know that the Unitarian Theory of Haemopoiesis was first proposed by Alexander. A Maximow?

By Shaun Richard McCann

Did you know that the ‘Unitarian Theory of Haemopoiesis (that all blood cells develop from a common precursor cell’), was first proposed by Alexander. A Maximow, a Corresponding member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, (1874-1928), Fig 1. He entered the Imperial Military Medical Academy in St Petersburg in 1891 Fig 2. His Unitarian Theory of Haemopoiesis was experimentally proven 60 years later by Till and McCullough. The theory has facilitated our understanding of many benign and malignant haematological disorders, not least allogeneic stem cell transplantation.

In 1922 he, with his wife and sister (a gifted lab technician) moved to the USA where he became Professor of Anatomy at the University of Chicago. He died in 1928. 

Thumbnail portrait: Portrait of A. A. Maximow in the uniform of the Russian Army general (taken between 1903 and 1910, from the archive of the Department of Hematology and Cellular Therapy named after him, Pirogov National Medical Surgical Center, Moscow, Russia)

Read more:

McCann. A history of haematology from Herodotus to HIV. Oxford Medical Histories, Oxford University Press, 2016. ISBN: 978-0-19-871760-7.

I E Konstantinov. In Search of Alexander A. Maximow: The Man Behind the Unitarian Theory of Hematopoiesis February 2000 Perspectives in Biology and Medicine 43(2):269-76.