Edward Calvin Kendall
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1950
Born: 8 March 1886, South Norwalk, CT, USA
Died: 4 May 1972, Princeton, NJ, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN, USA
Prize motivation: “for their discoveries relating to the hormones of the adrenal cortex, their structure and biological effects”
Prize share: 1/3
Situated atop the kidneys are two small glands, the adrenal glands. Their function was unknown for a long time, but if they were injured, deficiency diseases ensued that ended in death. In the mid-1930s Edward Kendall and Tadeus Reichstein succeeded in isolating and analyzing the composition of a number of similar hormones derived from the adrenal cortex. These became the basis for cortisone preparations that, with input from Kendall and Philip Hench, were used at the end of the 1940s to treat rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammations.