Hitchings , George Herbert
(1905–1998) American pharmacologist
Hitchings, the son of a naval architect, was born in Hoquiam, Washington, and educated at the University of Washington and at Harvard where he obtained his PhD in 1933 and where he taught until 1939. He then moved briefly to the Western Reserve University until in 1942 he joined the Wellcome Research Laboratories where he spent the rest of his career, serving as vice president in charge of research from 1966 until his retirement in 1975.
Hitchings was one of the most productive of modern chemical pharmacologists. He began in 1942 with the study of purines and pyrimidines on the grounds that, as important ingredients in cell metabolism, their manipulation could lead to the control of important diseases at the cellular level. This insight led to the synthesis in 1951 of the purine analog, 6-mercaptopurine (6MP), which, as it inhibited DNA synthesis and thus cellular proliferation, proved valuable in the treatment of cancer, particularly leukemia.
In 1959 6MP was found to inhibit the ability of rabbits to produce antibodies against foreign proteins. A less toxic form, azathioprine or Imuran, was quickly developed by Hitchings and used in 1960 by the surgeon Roy Calne to control rejection of transplanted kidneys.
One further drug was developed from work on 6MP when it was realized that it was broken down in the body by the enzyme xanthine oxydase, the same enzyme that converts purines into uric acid. As gout is caused by an excess of uric acid Hitchings developed allopurinol, which blocks uric acid production by competing for xanthine oxydase.
Other drugs developed by Hitchings include the malarial prophylactic pyrimethamine, or Daraprim, and the antibacterial, trimethoprim. He was awarded the 1988 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine for his work.

Scientists. . 2011.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Hitchings,George Herbert — Hitch·ings (hĭchʹĭngz), George Herbert. 1905 1998. American biochemist. He shared a 1988 Nobel Prize for developing drugs to treat leukemia and gout. * * * …   Universalium

  • Hitchings, George Herbert — born April 18, 1905, Hoquiam, Wash., U.S. died Feb. 27, 1998, Chapel Hill, N.C. U.S. pharmacologist. He earned a Ph.D. from Harvard University. Over nearly 40 years, he and Gertrude Elion designed a variety of new drugs that work by interfering… …   Universalium

  • Hitchings, George Herbert — (18 abr. 1905, Hoquiam, Wash., EE.UU.–27 feb. 1998, Chapel Hill, N.C.). Farmacólogo estadounidense. Obtuvo su Ph.D. en la Universidad Harvard. Por casi 40 años, él y Gertrude Elion, diseñaron una variedad de drogas nuevas que operan… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • George Herbert Hitchings — (* 18. April 1905 in Hoquiam, Washington; † 27. Februar 1998, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) war ein amerikanischer Biochemiker. Er war lange Zeit als Forschungs Direktor der Burroughs Wellcome Company tätig. 1988 erhielt er gemeinsam mit James W.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Herbert Hitchings — noun United States biochemist noted for developing drugs to treat leukemia and gout (1905 1998) • Syn: ↑Hitchings • Instance Hypernyms: ↑biochemist …   Useful english dictionary

  • Medizinnobelpreis 1988: James Whyte Black — Gertrude Belle Elion — George Herbert Hitchings —   Die Wissenschaftler wurden für wegweisende Entdeckungen wichtiger biochemischer Prinzipien der Arzneimitteltherapie ausgezeichnet.    Biografien   Sir (seit 1981) James Whyte Black, * Uddingston (Schottland) 14. 6. 1924; 1947 59 als… …   Universal-Lexikon

  • George H. Hitchings — George Herbert Hitchings (* 18. April 1905 in Hoquiam, Washington; † 27. Februar 1998, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) war ein amerikanischer Biochemiker. Er war lange Zeit als Forschungs Direktor der Burroughs Wellcome Company tätig. 1988 erhielt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • George Hitchings — George Herbert Hitchings (* 18. April 1905 in Hoquiam, Washington; † 27. Februar 1998, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) war ein amerikanischer Biochemiker. Er war lange Zeit als Forschungs Direktor der Burroughs Wellcome Company tätig. 1988 erhielt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Hitchings — George Herbert Hitchings (* 18. April 1905 in Hoquiam, Washington; † 27. Februar 1998, Chapel Hill, North Carolina) war ein amerikanischer Biochemiker. Er war lange Zeit als Forschungs Direktor der Burroughs Wellcome Company tätig. 1988 erhielt… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Herbert — Herbert, George * * * (as used in expressions) Asquith, H(erbert) H(enry), 1 conde de Oxford y Asquith Best, Charles H(erbert) Bradley, F(rancis) H(erbert) Herbert Ernst Karl Frahm Bush, George (Herbert Walker) Dillinger, John (Herbert) Dow,… …   Enciclopedia Universal

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