Cultivating Friends and Parasites

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  • Department of Parasitology, The Rockefeller University, New York, New York 10021
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Two years ago, when I had the privilege of giving the Craig lecture before this Society, my subject was the cultivation of parasites. With the very similar title now, I cannot blame you if you begin to think I have gotten into a rut and can't get out. That's so likely to happen with advancing age. Actually, however, this time I will be telling more about people and places than about parasites. The parasites served to bring me to these people and places.

It was 3 years ago that it became clear that we had efficient, reproducible methods for continuous culture of the human malaria parasite Plasmodium falciparum. The Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases of the World Health Organization then laid plans to spread this new technique to laboratories in countries where malaria is a major problem.