Gertrude Elion invented the leukemia-fighting
drug 6-mercaptopurine and drugs that facilitated kidney transplants.
Gertrude Elion invented drugs for
the treatment of cancer and leukemia.
Gertrude Elion patented the leukemia-fighting
drug 6-mercaptopurine in 1954 and has made a number of significant contributions
to the medical field. Dr. Gertrude Elion’s research led to the development
of Imuran, a drug that aids the body in accepting transplanted organs,
and Zovirax, a drug used to fight herpes.
Including 6-mercaptopurine, Getrude
Elion’s name is attached to some 45 patents. In 1988, she was awarded the
Nobel Prize in Medicine with George Hitchings and Sir James Black. Dr.
Gertrude Elion was inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame in
1991, she continued to be an advocate for medical and scientific advancement
until her death in February of 1999.
The child of Lithuanian and Polish
immigrants, Gertrude Elion decided to become involved in cancer research
after losing her grandfather to cancer when she was 15 years old. At age
19, she graduated with the highest undergraduate honors in chemistry from
Hunter College. However, 15 institutes rejected her application for graduate
school because of the unfair discrimination towards women in the sciences
that existed at that time. Elion was forced to work as an unpaid lab assistant
in order to have the opportunity to further her research in science.
In 1944, Burroughs Wellcome, a pharmaceuticals
company, hired Gertrude Elion to work with nucleic acids. During her 39-year
career there, Gertrude Elion made most of her scientific advances, including
the development of 6-mercaplopurine used in chemotherapy to treat children
with leukemia that won her the Nobel Prize.
Gertrude Elion Healing the world through science - read about Dr. Gertrude
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