Black, Sir James Whyte

Black, Sir James Whyte,

1924–2010, Scottish pharmacologist, M.B., Ch.B. Univ. of St. Andrews, 1946. A drug researcher, he held a series of posts with universities and drug companies before serving as a professor at Kings College Hospital Medical School from 1984 to 1993. By investigating the body's biochemical processes underlying a disease to determine the appropriateness and effectiveness of a drug, he altered the way new treatments are discovered. Using this method to find an new treatment for angina, he developed in the early 1960s the first beta-blockerbeta-blocker
or beta-adrenergic blocking agent
, drug that reduces the symptoms connected with hypertension, cardiac arrhythmias, angina pectoris, migraine headaches, and other disorders related to the sympathetic nervous system.
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, a class of drugs used to treat angina, heart arrhythmias, hypertension, migraines, and other health problems, and also later discovered cimetidine, the first successful ulcer and heartburn drug. In 1988 he shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with George HitchingsHitchings, George Herbert,
1905–98, American pharmacologist, b. Hoquiam, Wash., Ph.D. Harvard, 1933. Hitchings spent most of his career at Burroughs Wellcome Laboratories (1942–75), where he and fellow researcher Gertrude B.
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 and Gertrude ElionElion, Gertrude Belle
, 1918–99, American pharmacologist, b. New York City, B.S. Hunter College, 1937. Unable to find research work (largely because she was a woman), she taught high school chemistry before joining Burroughs Wellcome Laboratories in 1944.
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 for his contributions to the area of drug treatment. Black was chancellor of the Univ. of Dundee, Scotland, from 1992 to 2006. He was knighted in 1981 and awarded the Order of Merit in 2000.