Gertrude B. Elion


Gertrude B. Elion

Gertrude Belle Elion (January 23, 1918 – February 21, 1999) was an American biochemist and pharmacologist, and a 1988 recipient of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. Born in New York City to immigrant parents, she graduated from Hunter College in 1937 and New York University (M.Sc.) in 1941. Unable to obtain a graduate research position due to her gender, she worked as a lab assistant and a high school teacher. Later, she left to work as an assistant to George H. Hitchings at the Burroughs-Wellcome pharmaceutical company (now GlaxoSmithKline). She never obtained a formal Ph.D., but was later awarded an honorary Ph.D from Polytechnic University of New York in 1989 [http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polytechnic_University_of_New_York#Notable_alumni] .

Working alone as well as with Hitchings, Elion developed a multitude of new drugs, using innovative research methods that would later lead to the development of the AIDS drug AZT. Rather than relying on trial-and-error, Elion and Hitchings used the differences in biochemistry between normal human cells and pathogens (disease-causing agents) to design drugs that could kill or inhibit the reproduction of particular pathogens without harming the host cells.

Elion's inventions include:

* 6-mercaptopurine (Purinethol), the first treatment for leukemia. [http://pubs.acs.org/cen/coverstory/83/8325/83256-mercaptopurine.html]
* Azathioprine (Imuran), the first immuno-suppressive agent, used for organ transplants.
* Allopurinol (Zyloprim), for gout.
* Pyrimethamine (Daraprim), for malaria.
* Trimethoprim (Septra), for meningitis, septicemia, and bacterial infections of the urinary and respiratory tracts.
* Acyclovir (Zovirax), for viral herpes.

In 1988 Elion received the Nobel Prize in Medicine, together with Hitchings and Sir James Black. Other awards include the National Medal of Science (1991) and the Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award (1997). In 1991 she became the first woman to be inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Gertrude Elion died in North Carolina in 1999, aged 81. She had moved to the Research Triangle in 1970, and for a time served as a research professor at Duke University. She was unmarried.

Quotes

* "I had no specific bent toward science until my grandfather died of stomach cancer. I decided nobody should suffer that much."
* "The idea was to do research, find new avenues to conquer, new mountains to climb!"

Awards

* Garvan-Olin Medal (1968)
* Nobel Prize in Medicine (1988)
* National Medal of Science (1991)
* Lemelson-MIT Lifetime Achievement Award (1997)
* National Inventors Hall of Fame (1991) (first woman to be inducted)

References

External links

* [http://www.nobel.se/medicine/laureates/1988/elion-autobio.html Autobiography at the Nobel e-Museum]
* [http://www.nap.edu/html/biomems/gelion.html Biographical Memoirs by Mary Ellen Avery]
* [http://www.jwa.org/exhibits/wov/elion/ Women of Valor exhibit on Gertrude Elion] at the [http://www.jwa.org Jewish Women's Archive]
* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9501E5DF103DF930A15751C0A96F958260 New York Times obituary]


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  • Gertrude B. Elion — Gertrude Elion Gertrude Elion Naissance 23 janvier 1918 New York (États Unis) Décès 21 février 1999 Research Triangle (États Unis) Nationalité …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Gertrude Belle Elion — (Nueva York, 23 de enero de 1918 – Carolina del Norte, 21 de febrero de 1999) fue una bioquímica y farmacóloga norteamericana, que recibió en 1988 el Premio Nobel de Fisiología y Medicina. Nacida en la ciudad de Nueva …   Wikipedia Español

  • Gertrude B. Elion — Gertrude Belle Elion (* 23. Januar 1918 in New York; † 21. Februar 1999 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina) war eine amerikanische Biochemikerin und Pharmakologin. Gertrud Elion leitete seit 1966 die Abteilung für experimentelle Therapie der Wellcome …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gertrude Belle Elion — (* 23. Januar 1918 in New York; † 21. Februar 1999 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina) war eine US amerikanische Biochemikerin und Pharmakologin. Gertrud Elion leitete seit 1966 die Abteilung für experimentelle Therapie der Wellcome Laboratorien. Sie …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gertrude Belle Elion — (Nueva York, 1918 Chapel Hill, 1999). Bioquímica estadounidense. En 1937 se licenció en Bioquímica en el Hunter College y durante los siguientes siete años trabajó en varios laboratorios y enseñó química y física en diversos centros docentes… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Medizinnobelpreis 1988: James Whyte Black — Gertrude Belle Elion — George Herbert Hitchings —   Die Wissenschaftler wurden für wegweisende Entdeckungen wichtiger biochemischer Prinzipien der Arzneimitteltherapie ausgezeichnet.    Biografien   Sir (seit 1981) James Whyte Black, * Uddingston (Schottland) 14. 6. 1924; 1947 59 als… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • Gertrude Elion — Gertrude Belle Elion (* 23. Januar 1918 in New York; † 21. Februar 1999 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina) war eine amerikanische Biochemikerin und Pharmakologin. Gertrud Elion leitete seit 1966 die Abteilung für experimentelle Therapie der Wellcome …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gertrude Elion — Naissance 23 janvier 1918 New York (États Unis) Décès 21 février 1999 …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Elion — Gertrude Belle Elion (* 23. Januar 1918 in New York; † 21. Februar 1999 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina) war eine amerikanische Biochemikerin und Pharmakologin. Gertrud Elion leitete seit 1966 die Abteilung für experimentelle Therapie der Wellcome …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Elion — may refer to:*Gertrude B. Elion American biochemist and recipient of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine *Elion Enterprises Limited an Estonian company *Elyon the highest God in the Canaanite pantheon (along with El) …   Wikipedia


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