Sir James W. Black


Sir James W. Black

Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.

Sir James W. Black
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1988

Born: 14 June 1924, Uddingston, Scotland

Died: 21 March 2010

Affiliation at the time of the award: London University, King's College Hospital Medical School, London, United Kingdom

Prize motivation: “for their discoveries of important principles for drug treatment”

Prize share: 1/3


Many of the body's processes are controlled by substances known as hormones. These are absorbed by the cells of receptors on the cell’s surface. The hormone adrenaline causes the heart to pump harder and blood pressure to rise. At the beginning of the 1960s, James Black developed the drug propranolol, which is a beta-blocker that has a calming effect on the heart by blocking the receptor for adrenaline. At the beginning of the 1970s he developed the drug Cimetidine that suppresses the formation of gastric acid and is used to fight ulcers.

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