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George Hitchings
George H. Hitchings 1988.jpg
George H. Hitchings in 1988
George Herbert Hitchings

April 18, 1905
Died February 27, 1998 (1998-02-28) (aged 92)
Nationality American
Alma mater University of Washington
Harvard University
Known for chemotherapy
Scientific career

George Herbert Hitchings (April 18, 1905 – February 27, 1998) was an American medical doctor who shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Sir James Black and Gertrude Elion "for their discoveries of important principles for drug treatment", Hitchings specifically for his work on chemotherapy.

Education and early life

Hitchings was born in Hoquiam, Washington, in 1905, and grew up there, in Berkeley, California, San Diego, Bellingham, Washington, and Seattle. He graduated from Seattle's Franklin High School, where he was salutatorian, in 1923, and from there went to the University of Washington, from which he graduated with a degree in chemistry cum laude in 1927, after having been elected to Phi Beta Kappa as a junior the year before. That summer, he worked at the university's Puget Sound Biological Station at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island [1], and received a master's degree the next year for his thesis based on that work.

From the University of Washington, Hitchings went to Harvard University as a teaching fellow, ending up at Harvard Medical School. Before getting his Ph.D. in 1933, he joined Alpha Chi Sigma in 1929.

Career and research

Following his PhD, he worked at Harvard and Case Western Reserve University. In 1942, he went to work for Wellcome Research Laboratories at Tuckahoe, where he began working with Gertrude Elion in 1944. Drugs Hitchings' team worked on included 2,6-diaminopurine (a compound to treat leukemia) and p-chlorophenoxy-2,4-diaminopyrimidine (a folic acid antagonist). According to his Nobel Prize autobiography,

The line of inquiry we had begun in the 1940s [also] yielded new drug therapies for malaria (pyrimethamine), leukemia (6-mercaptopurine and thioguanine), gout (allopurinol), organ transplantation (azathioprine) and bacterial infections (co-trimoxazole (trimethoprimA)). The new knowledge contributed by our studies pointed the way for investigations that led to major antiviral drugs for herpes infections (acyclovir) and AIDS (zidovudine).

In 1967 Hitchings became vice president in Charge of Research of Burroughs-Wellcome. He became Scientist Emeritus in 1976. He also served as adjunct professor of pharmacology and of experimental medicine from 1970 to 1985 at Duke University.

Hitchings founded the Triangle Community Foundation in 1983. Hitchings is a member of the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame.

Personal life

His first wife, Beverly Reimer Hitchings, died in 1985. Hitchings remarried in 1989 to Joyce Carolyn Shaver-Hitchings, MD. Dr. Shaver-Hitchings died in 2009.

Hitchings died on 27 February 1998 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Awards and honors

Hitchings was awarded the Passano award by the Passano Foundation in 1969, and the de Villiers award in 1970. In 1972, he was awarded the Cameron Prize for Therapeutics of the University of Edinburgh. He was elected a Foreign Member of the Royal Society (ForMemRS) in 1974. In 1989, Hitchings received the Golden Plate Award of the American Academy of Achievement.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: George Herbert Hitchings para niños

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