Photo from the Nobel Foundation archive.
Joseph E. Murray
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1990
Born: 1 April 1919, Milford, MA, USA
Died: 26 November 2012, Boston, MA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: Brigham and Women's Hospital, Boston, MA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease."
Prize share: 1/2
The human body has many different organs with different tasks. If an organ is unable to perform its task, a person cannot live normally without external help. Because the immune system rejects foreign bodies, transferring organs from one person to another was long thought impossible. However, in 1954 Joseph Murray avoided rejection using radiotherapy and immunosuppressants, successfully transplanting a kidney between identical twins. This paved the way for other organ transplants.