Nobel Prize winners

Professor Barry J. Marshall AC and Dr J. Robin Warren AC were named as the 2005 Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine for their groundbreaking research at Royal Perth Hospital between 1979 and 1984.

Professor Marshall and Dr Warren discovered that infection by a previously unidentified spiral bacterium, Helicobacter pylori, caused gastritis-associated dyspepsia and ulcers, which also increased the risk of stomach cancer.

The discovery of the organisms in the stomach lining of patients by Dr Warren was followed by a remarkable experiment by the young medical registrar Barry Marshall, in which he infected himself, treated the infection with antibiotics and recovered.

Working with the departments of Microbiology, Gastroenterology and Anatomical Pathology, the team developed tests to identify the infection in biopsy samples, blood and breath tests. They also developed very effective treatment strategies using antibiotics. Their landmark discovery revolutionised the diagnosis and treatment of peptic ulcer disease and led to a reduction in the prevalence of gastric cancer.

Dr Warren is a highly regarded pathologist with an interest in gastritis who worked in the Department of Pathology at our hospital for many years. Now retired, Dr Warren is an emeritus consultant. Professor Marshall continues his work at the NHMRC Helicobacter pylori Research Laboratory at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital, and runs a molecular biology laboratory at the University of Western Australia.

For more information, visit the Nobel Prize website (external site).