March 27: Pharmacy Fun Fact

Which pharmacist won the Nobel Prize in 2005 for proving that Helicobacter pylori causes stomach ulcers and could therefore be treated with antibiotics?

Which pharmacist won the Nobel Prize in 2005 for proving that Helicobacter pylori causes stomach ulcers and could therefore be treated with antibiotics?

Answer: Barry Marshall, AC, FRACP, FRS, FAA

In the early 20th century and even into the mid-1900s, it was believed that stomach ulcers were caused by stress. Australian pharmacist Barry Marshall, AC, FRACP, FRS, FAA, thought that was wrong, and he decided to prove it—by using himself as a test subject.

Marshall believed that most peptic ulcers and gastritis might be caused by Helicobacter pylori, and could therefore be treated with antibiotics. He drank a broth of the bacteria that he had cultured from a patient’s stomach ulcer to prove the theory. When Marshall fell ill and was able to regrow H. pylori from his own cut, Marshall proved that the bacteria caused ulcers.

These findings corroborated some of Marshall’s earlier studies alongside Robin Warren, AC, and they both won the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

REFERENCE

Nogales L.M. An Epic History of Pharmacy: Pharmacy in the Ancient World. Ediciones Universidad de Salamanca, July 11, 2018. https://books.google.com/books?id=zKtjDwAAQBAJ&pg=PA9&lpg=PA9&dq=barry+marshall+pharmacist&source=bl&ots=gA41Zkafq5&sig=ACfU3U2Qqn7TUWRSzeqx_xPRgsHu3I7WPA&hl=en&ppis=_c&sa=X&ved=2ahUKEwiX54WerLnoAhUqlnIEHazKCdMQ6AEwBnoECAwQAQ#v=onepage&q=barry%20marshall%20pharmacist&f=false. Accessed March 26, 2020.

Stay tuned each week for our new series: the Friday Pharmacy Fun Fact! Impress your friends and colleagues with useful facts about the history of pharmacy, inventions created by pharmacists, and more. If you have a fun fact to contribute, email AAntrim@pharmacytimes.com, and it may be included!