- A dictionary of medical eponyms

David Paul von Hansemann

Born  1858
Died  1920

Related eponyms

    German pathologist, born September 5, 1858, Eupen near Aachen; died 1920.

    Biography of David Paul von Hansemann

    David Paul von Hansemann first embarked on a career as a merchant, but changed his course to study medicine in Berlin, Kiel, and Leipzig, particularly under Wilhelm His (1931-1904), Carl Friedrich Wilhelm Ludwig (1816-1895), Ernst Leberecht Wagner (1829-1888), and Julius Cohnheim (1839-1884).

    Hansemann defended his doctoral dissertation in 1886 under Julius Cohnheim. For the next nine years he was an assistant to Rudolf Ludwig Karl Virchow (1821-1902) at the University of Berlin. He
    He was habilitated for pathological anatomy in 1890, becoming titular professor of anatomy and pathology in 1897. In 1907 he also became prosector at the city hospital Friedrichshain. From 1906 prosector at the Rudolf Virchow Hospital. He became ordinary honorary professor in 1912. Hansemann was an army pathologist in World War I.

    Hansemann had a special interest in cancer and, in 1890, only a few years after the discovery of the chromosome, he described the concept of anaplasia. This theory postulates that the increased growth potential of the cancer cell was accompanied by a loss of differentiation and that asymmetrical mitoses were a characteristic of cancer. Hansemann contrasted his theory of anaplasia to the more popular theory of embryonalism; embryonal tissues remained undifferentiated, while anaplastic tissues had once been differentiated.

    The term anaplasia is from the Greek, ana, backward + plassein, to form, or forming backward.


    • Über asymmetrische Zelltheilung in Epithelkrebsen und deren biologische Bedeutung.
      [Virchows] Archiv für pathologische Anatomie und Physiologie und für klinische Medicin, 1890, 779: 299-326. Anaplasia first described.
    • Studien über die Spezificität, den Altruismus und die Anaplasie der Zellen.
      Berlin, Hirschwald, 1893.
    • Die mikroskopische Diagnose der bösartigen Geschwülste.
      Berlin, 1897; 2nd edition, 1902.
    • Der Aberglaube in der Medizin und seine Gefahr für Gesundheit und Leben.
      Leipzig, 1905.
    • Descendenz und Pathologie. Berlin, 1909.
    • Atlas der bösartigen Geschwülste. Berlin, 1910.
    • Über da konditionale Denken in der Medizin und seine Bedeutung für die Praxis. Berlin, 1912.
    • Über das normale Vorkommen von Poren in den Wandungen der Lungenalveolen. Biographical etc:
    • Julius Leopold Pagel (1851-1912), publisher:
      Biographisches Lexikon hervorragender Ärzte des neunzehnten Jahrhunderts.
      Urban & Schwarzenberg, Berlin and Vienna, 1901.
    • Isidor Fischer (1869-1943), publisher:
      Biographisches Lexikon der hervorragenden Ärzte der letzten fünfzig Jahre.
      Berlin – Wien, Urban & Schwarzenberg, 1932.
    • Barry G. Firkin and Judith A. Whitworth:
      Dictionary of Medical Eponyms.
      The Parthenon Publishing Group. 1989. New edition in 2002.
    • Jeremy M. Norman, editor:
      Morton’s Medical Bibliography. An annotated Check-list of Texts Illustrating the History of Medicine (Garrison and Morton).
      Fifth edition. Scolar Press, 1991.
    • Leon P. Bignold, Brian L.D. Coghlan, Hubertus P.A. Jersmann:
      David Paul von Hansemann: Contributions to Oncology: Context, Comments and Translations.
      Basel, Birkhäuser, 2007. 352 Pages.
      Presents translations of the relevant German texts, and analyses the background and context of Hansemann's theories as well as the reasons why he was almost completely forgotten. It shows that some of Hansemann’s ideas may still be relevant to cancer research today, and that he deserves to be remembered in relation to cancer as Vordenker unter den führenden Denkern seiner Zeit - The foremost of the leading thinkers of his time.
    • Mary F. Peterson, Leon P. Bignold, Hubertus P. A. Jersmann:
      Deutsche Medizin im neunzehnten Jahrhundert erforschen – das Beispiel des David Paul von Hansemann (1858-1920). Springer-Verlag 2007.

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