British Anti-Lewisite (BAL)

Abstract

IN the first fortnight of the War (1939) fundamental research was initiated in the Oxford Department of Biochemistry by Peters and carried out under his direction by a group of workers as an extra-mural research with the support of and for the Chemical Defence Research Department, Ministry of Supply; the object was to find antidotes for vesicants, both arsenical such as lewisite (CH.Cl: CH.As.Cl2) and also those of the mustard gas type. In this brief review, the main facts are given about the discovery of the antidote to lewisite known as BAL, owing to its medical importance; more detailed papers based upon the original reports are being prepared. An attempt is made to include the more relevant work from elsewhere and also to focus the main stages in this discovery, as this may prove useful in planning future work of this type.

Access options

Rent or Buy article

Get time limited or full article access on ReadCube.

from$8.99

All prices are NET prices.

References

  1. 1

    For review of Oxford work, see Peters, Lancet, 1, 1161 (1936), and Nature, 146, 387 (1940).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. 2

    Nature, 138, 327 (1936).

    ADS  CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  3. 3

    Chem. Weekblad., 34, No. 26 (1937), and unpublished observations.

  4. 4

    Onaka, Physiol. Chem., 70, 433 (1911). Szent-Gyrgyi, Biochem. J., 24, 1723 (1930). Voegtlin, Rosenthal and Johnson, U.S. Public Health Hep. 46, 339 (1931).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  5. 5

    Krebs, Z. Physiol Chem., 217, 191 (1933).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  6. 6

    McCleland and Peters, J. Physiol. Proc., 53, XV (1919).

    Google Scholar 

  7. 7

    Hopkins and Dixon, J. Biol. Chem., 54, 527 (1922).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  8. 8

    Peters and Walker, Rep. to Government (1924).

  9. 9

    Walker, Biochem. J., 19, 1085 (1925).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  10. 10

    Walker, Biochem. J., 22, 292 (1928).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  11. 11

    Voegtlin, Dyer and Leonard, U.S. Public Health Rep. 38, 1911.

  12. 12

    U.S. Public Health Rep., 47, 241 (1932).

  13. 13

    Dickens, Biochem. J., 27, 1141 (1933). Quastel and Wheatley, Biochem. J., 26, 2169 (1932). Rapkine, C.R. Soc. Biol., 112, 790 (1933).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  14. 14

    J. Chem. Soc., 3043 (1931).

  15. 15

    Sinclair, Thompson and Peters, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters, No. 3 (1940).

  16. 16

    Thompson, R. H. S., and Johnson, R. E., Biochem. J., 29, 694 (1935).

    CAS  Article  Google Scholar 

  17. 17

    Sinclair, H. M., Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters, No. 27, and Peters (unreported).

  18. 18

    Peters and Wakelin, Report circulated privately in U.K. and U.S. cf. âœPerspectives in Biochemistryâ (Cambridge) 1937, p. 41 (Jan. 1941).

    Google Scholar 

  19. 19

    Progress Report by Peters to Min. of Supply (Dec. 1940).

  20. 20

    J. Pharm. Exp. Ther., 141, 148 (1939).

  21. 21

    Ann. Trop. Med., 31, 387 (1937).

  22. 22

    Report to Min. of Supply by Robinson (1940).

  23. 23

    Goddard and Michaelis, J. Biol. Chem., 106, 605 (1934).

    CAS  Google Scholar 

  24. 24

    Stocken, L. A., and Thompson, R. H. S., Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters, No. 20 (1940).

  25. 25

    Stocken, Thompson and Whittaker, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters, No. 52 (1942).

  26. 26

    Stocken and Thompson, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters, No. 29 (1941).

  27. 27

    Vey, F., Porton Report (Fairley) (1941).

  28. 28

    Mann and Pirie, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Marrian (1941). Cf. Robson and Scott, Rep. to Min. of Supply (1942) and Porton Reports (1943) by R. Leishman, G. I. Uhde and H. Davson and by E. B. Dunphy.

  29. 29

    U.S. Reports (1942â1944).

  30. 30

    Owen, Stranks, Vey, Davson, Leishman, Quilliam, Hartley and Fairley, Porton Report (1943).

  31. 31

    U.S. Reports (1943).

  32. 32

    Stocken and Thompson, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters, Nos. 20, 25, 29, 30, 33, 35, 36, 48, 52, also 64 and 65 (1943); also review by Peters, Stocken, Thompson and Whittaker, No. 69 (1943).

  33. 33

    U.S. Report (1943).

  34. 34

    Prepared by Stocken from BAL supplied by Min. of Supply.

  35. 35

    Cambridge Rep. to Min. of Supply (1941).

  36. 36

    Porton Reports (1944 and 1945).

  37. 37

    Cambridge Reports; Van Heyningen. Rep. by Dixon to Min. of Supply, No. 10 (1942), No. 19 (1943), and Notes to Conference, Jan. 1943; also Mackworth (private communication) and U.S. Report (1942).

  38. 38

    Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters (1944), No. 78, and Whittaker, No. 89 (1945).

  39. 39

    Spray, Stocken and Thompson, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters, No. 85 (1945). (See also, very recently, Simpson and Young., Canadian E.M. Report.)

  40. 40

    Lovatt Evans, Porton Report. Levvy, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Marrian.

  41. 41

    Rep. to Min. of Supply by Robinson (1942).

  42. 42

    King and Pyman, J. Chem. Soc., 1238 (1914).

  43. 43

    Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters, No. 74.

  44. 44

    Chiesman, Brit. Med. J., 2109 (1944), and Ferrie, A. M. (unpublished).

  45. 45

    Interim Report to M.R.C. Carleton, Peters, Stocken, Thompson (Oxford); Williams (Netley); Storey, Levvy and Chance (Edinburgh).

  46. 46

    (a) Graham and Chance, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Lewy (Feb. 1944). (b) Chance, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Levvy (June 1944).

  47. 47

    Peters and Stocken, Rep. to Min. of Supply by Peters, No. 86 (1945).

  48. 48

    Porton Report (1945).

  49. 49

    Whittaker ; Stocken ; Reps. to Min. of Supply and Med. Res. Council by Peters, Nos. 91 and 92 (1945).

  50. 50

    Note.-Reference to U.S. authors have been deleted by request of U.S. authorities.

Download references

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

PETERS, R., STOCKEN, L. & THOMPSON, R. British Anti-Lewisite (BAL). Nature 156, 616–619 (1945). https://doi.org/10.1038/156616a0

Download citation

Further reading

Comments

By submitting a comment you agree to abide by our Terms and Community Guidelines. If you find something abusive or that does not comply with our terms or guidelines please flag it as inappropriate.