Profession: Biochemist and Drug Researcher
Why Famous: Gertrude B. Elion was the daughter of immigrants and struggled to find work as a female scientist early in her career.
From 1944 she worked at the Burroughs Wellcome Laboratories developing new drugs alongside George H. Hitchings. They used innovative new research techniques, comparing differences in cells and diseases.
The new drugs they developed included the first treatment for leukemia, drugs for gout, malaria, viral herpes and to treat autoimmune disorders, vital for organ transplants.
In 1988, Elion along with Hitching and Sir James W. Black received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.
After her official retirement Elion was instrumental in the development of azidothymidine (AZT), the first drug to treat AIDS
- 1998-12-10 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine presented to Gertrude B. Elion, George H. Hitchings and James W. Black for development of new drugs