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Edward Calvin Kendall

(1886—1972) American biochemist


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(1886–1972)

US biochemist noted for his discovery of the adrenal hormone cortisone (later used to treat rheumatoid arthritis), for which he received the 1950 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

Kendall gained his PhD from Columbia University in 1910 and worked briefly as a research chemist before joining St Luke's Hospital, New York City, in 1911. Three years later he was appointed professor of physiological chemistry at the Mayo Foundation, Rochester, Minnesota. Here he was the first to isolate the principal hormone secreted by the thyroid gland – thyroxine. Following this, Kendall's work on the coenzyme glutathione led to the determination of its tripeptide chemical structure. In the 1930s, Kendall concentrated on isolating and identifying the hormones produced by the cortex of adrenal glands. He discovered six steroid hormones (known as corticosteroids), one of which, cortisone, was used by Philip Hench (1896–1965) to relieve pain and swelling in patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. By 1951 the artificial synthesis of cortisone was achieved, making it a widely used drug. Kendall retired in 1951 to become visiting professor of chemistry at Princeton University (1952–72).

Subjects: Science and Mathematics — Contemporary History (Post 1945).


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