Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Gertrude Belle Elion

  • Born 1918
  • Died 1999
  • Year Inducted into National Women's Hall of Fame: 1991
  • Recognized for her achievements in science
Gertrude Elion is one of the nation's most distinguished research scientists, and her Nobel Prize in 1988 capped a career devoted to research to combat some of the world's most dangerous diseases. Elion, working predominantly with George Hitchings, has created drugs to combat leukemia, gout, malaria, herpes and autoimmune disorders. She and Hitchings devised a system for designing drugs that led to the development of the AIDS drug AZT.

In the 1950's she pioneered the development of two drugs that interfered with the reproductive process of cancer cells to cause remissions in childhood leukemia. In 1957 she created the first immuno-suppressive agent, leading to successful organ transplants. In 1977, her work led to the development of the first drug used against viral herpes.

Gertrude Elion, who lost her grandfather and mother to cancer, has never lost sight of the human beings whose lives her research affects. She has said, "When you meet someone who has lived for 25 years with a kidney graft, there's your reward."


Copyright M. A. Webb, 2004-2006. All Rights Reserved

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