- A dictionary of medical eponyms

Max Samter

Born  1908
Died  1999

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German-born American physician, born March 3, 1908; died February 9, 1999.

Biography of Max Samter

Max Samter attended the universities of Freiburg and Innsbruck and completed an internship at the Medizinische Universitätsklinik der Charité in Berlin from 1931 to 1933. He received his MD from the University of Berlin in 1933 and practiced medicine in Berlin-Karow from 1933-1937.

In 1933 Samter, a Jew, fled the NAZI regime and immigrated to USA where he joined the staff of the Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, Maryland. After a year and a half he moved to the University of Pennsylvania, where he worked in the departments of anatomy and pharmacology. During World War II he served in a field hospital during the invasion following the D-Day and later the Battle of the Bulge.

In 1946 he received a position as a research associate in the biochemistry department at the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Chicago. Here he began his important research on allergies and clinical immunology. He became professor of medicine at the university in 1969. From 1975 to 1983 he was Director of the Institute of Allergy and Clinical Immunology at Grant Hospital in Chicago, and from 1996 Clinical professor of otorhinolarygology at Loyola University. From 1994 he was a Research scientist of otolaryngology and head and neck surgery at the University of Illinois, Chicago. Max Samter was a leader in the treatment of people with allergies. At Grant Hospital the Max Samter Institute for Immunology Research is named in his honour.

Although he did not "discover" the aspirin triad syndrome (it had originally been described in 1922 by Widal, Abrami, and Lermoyez), he was the most prolific medical scientist in this area and described much of the biological basis for the disorder.

We thank Mark Schubert, M.D., Ph.D., Phoenix, Arizona, and Ron Sims, for information used in this article.


  • M. Samter and Oren C. Durham:
    American Lectures in Allergy. 1950.
  • M. Samter and Harry L. Alexander:
    Regional Allergy. 1954.
  • Max Samter, editor, Harry L. Alexander, Associate editor:
    Immunological Diseases. 1st edition, 1965.
    3rd edition, 1978. 4th edition, Boston ; Toronto : Little, Brown 1988.
    5th edition, Boston : Little, Brown, 1995.
    This work quickly became the standard text in the field of immunology.
    Fifth edition, 1995, as: Samter's Immunological Diseases.
  • M. Samter:
    Excerpts from Classics in Allergy. 1969.
  • Max Samter & C.W. Parker, section editors:
    Hypersensitivity to drugs. Volume 1, Oxford : Pergamon Press, 1972
  • Sheldon Cohen and Max Samter:
    Excerpts from classics in allergy & immunology.
    Rhode Island, Oceanside Publications, 1992. 24 pages.

  • Roxanne K Young:
    Max Samter, MD.
    JAMA: Journal of the American Medical Association, 1999 281 (23): 2255.
  • Edward L. Lach, Jr:
    Samter, Max. http://www.anb.org/articles/12/12-02098.html;
    American National Biography Online July 2001 Update.

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