Lonzo-Ball

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Alice Augusta Ball
-Ball was born on July 24, 1892, in Seattle,
Washington, the third of four children.
-July 24, 1892 – December 31, 1916
-pharmaceutical chemist
-Ball was also the very first African American
and the very first woman to graduate with a M.S.
degree in chemistry from the College of Hawaii
(now known as the University of Hawaii).
-an African-American chemist who developed the
first successful treatment for those suffering
from Hansen’s disease (leprosy).
- The chairman of the Chemistry Department at
the University of Hawaii continued refining the
research work of Ball, treating many patients
successfully at Kalaupapa, a special hospital
for Hansen disease patients. The “Ball method”
continued to be the most effective method of
treatment until the 1940s and as late as 1999
one medical journal indicated the “Ball Method”
was still being used to treat Hansen disease
patients in remote areas.
Leprosy Treatment – The Ball Method
After
earning
undergraduate
degrees
in
pharmaceutical chemistry (1912) and pharmacy
(1914) from the University of Washington, Alice
Ball transferred to the College of Hawaii (now
known as the University of Hawaii) and became
the very first African American and the very
first woman to graduate with a M.S. degree in
chemistry in 1915. She was offered a teaching
and research position there and became the
institution’s
very
first
woman
chemistry
instructor. She was only 23 years old.
As
a
laboratory
researcher,
Ball
worked
extensively to develop a successful treatment
for those suffering from Hansen’s disease
(leprosy). Her research led her to create the
first injectable leprosy treatment using oil
from the chaulmoogra tree, which up until then,
was only a moderately successful topical agent
that was used in Chinese and Indian medicine.
Ball successfully isolated the oil into fatty
acid components of different molecular weights
allowing her to manipulate the oil into a water
soluble injectable form. Ball’s scientific rigor
resulted in a highly successful method to
alleviate leprosy symptoms, later known as the
“Ball Method,” that was used on thousands of
infected individuals for over thirty years until
sulfone drugs were introduced.
The “Ball Method” was so successful, leprosy
patients were discharged from hospitals and
facilities across the globe including from
Kalaupapa, an isolation facility on the north
shore of Molokai, Hawaii where thousands of
people suffering from leprosy died in years
prior. Thanks to Alice Ball, these banished
individuals could now return to their families,
free from the symptoms of leprosy.
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