In 1948, American chemist Edward Calvin Kendall (1886-1972) and American physician Philip Showalter Hench (1896-1965) discovered a compound that had anti-inflammatory activity and reversed the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis (a disease that causes painful joints). This compound, which they named cortisone, was a form of corticosteroid.
Their patient, a middle-aged woman with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), was suffering from severe pain and joint swelling. She was given a series of experimental cortisone injections over several weeks. When the treatment was finished, her symptoms had seemed to disappear. For their contribution to medicine—specifi-cally, their discoveries relating to the hormones of the adrenal cortex—Hench and Kendall, along with Polish-born Swiss chemist Tadeus Reichstein (1897-1996), were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1950.
In the 1950s, an American chemist synthesized cortisone, but its production involved a very expensive and lengthy procedure. By the end of the 1950s, a process was developed that made cortisone more easily in large quantities. Although corticosteroids were effective in treating various ailments involving inflammation, the reason why they worked was unknown. With further research, this was discovered in the 1980s.
Was this article helpful?
Did You Know That Herbs and Spices Have Been Used to Treat Rheumatoid Arthritis Successfully for Thousands of Years Do you suffer with rheumatoid arthritis Would you like to know which herbs and spices naturally reduce inflammation and pain 'Treating Rheumatoid Arthritis with Herbs, Spices and Roots' is a short report which shows you where to start.