Sahachiro Hata: The first miracle medicine in the world for syphilis treatment

Sahachiro Hata developed “arsphenamine No.606”, the first medicine in the world for syphilis treatment, incorporation with Paul Ehrlich in Germany. Hata had originally been researching bacteriology in the Institute of Infectious Diseases that Dr.Shibasaburo Kitasato had established.

He was born in the Yamane family in Masuda City, Shimane Prefecture, in 1873 and adopted the Hata family when he was 14. He went on to the Third Senior School Medical Faculty (now renamed Medical School, Okayama University) because the Hata family produced a long line of doctors. After graduation, he entered the Institute of Infectious Disease in 1898 (established by Doctor Kitasato) and worked on the research of bacteriology for ten years.

He then went to study in Germany in 1907, moved to the National Institute for experimental Therapeutics in Frankfurt in 1909, and was involved in the research of drugs for syphilis therapy under the guidance of Paul Ehrlich.

Hata took charge of the animal experiments, and confirmed that 606 medicines made of arsenic were effective against syphilis in June of the same year. The research results were presented in the academic society the next year, and the medicine that had been named arsphenamine No.606 came to be used as a treatment for syphilis.

There had been no effective treatment for syphilis. However, treatment became possible for the first time through the development of arsphenamine.  Arsphenamine had played a central role in the treatment of syphilis, but after World WarⅡantibiotics replaced it because antibiotics are an organic arsenic compound with toxicity.

Moreover, it is particularly worth nothing that arsphenamin is the first synthetic chemical in the world.