Sune K. Bergström
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1982
Born: 10 January 1916, Stockholm, Sweden
Died: 15 August 2004, Stockholm, Sweden
Affiliation at the time of the award: Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
Prize motivation: “for their discoveries concerning prostaglandins and related biologically active substances”
Prize share: 1/3
Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that control several important processes in the body. They are also active when the body is attacked. In the 1950s Sune Bergström succeeded in producing pure prostaglandins and in determining the chemical structures of two important examples, PGE and PGF. He also showed that these are formed through the conversion of unsaturated fatty acids. Prostaglandins are used as medicines; for example, to trigger contractions during childbirth, induce abortions, or reduce the risk of gastric ulcers during treatment using other pharmaceuticals.
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