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Nobel prize for medicine to two Australian scientists for the discovery of the bacterium that causes gastritis

Two Australian researchers won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for the discovery of the bacterium, which can cause the development of stomach cancer. Most of the world's population is infected with it

Two Australian researchers, Barry Marshall (54) and Robin Warren (68), won the Nobel Prize for Medicine, for discovering a bacterium that causes stomach inflammations. The Nobel Prize committee said that in 1982 the two discovered the "important and unexpected finding", according to which stomach inflammations are caused by the bacterium Helicobacter pylori. The two will share a prize of 10 million Swedish crowns, which is $1.29 million.

Infection probably occurs at a very young age and the bacterium remains in the stomach for life, and in most people it does not cause any symptoms. However, it may encourage the creation of a stomach ulcer in 10%-15% of those infected. The bacteria that the scientists discovered causes more than 90% of duodenal ulcers and 80% of stomach ulcers. About two-thirds of the world's population is infected with the bacterium, but most do not suffer from any symptoms. However, the bacterium may lead to the development of stomach cancer, which is the second deadliest cancer.

The ulcer is caused by the bacterium H. pylori encouraging the creation of acidic products in the stomach, and this leads to damage to the stomach and the inner lining of the intestines. Prof. Marshall (Medicine and Pharmacology) completed his BA at the University of Western Australia in 1974. He met Robin Warren, a physiologist interested in gastritis, during internal medicine training at Perth Royal Hospital in 1981. Together, the two investigated the presence of helical bacteria in gastritis patients.

The following year (1982), they succeeded in growing the initial culture of Helicobacter pylori and developed their hypothesis linking the bacterium to ulcers and stomach cancer. The H theory. pylori was ridiculed by the establishment scientists and doctors, who did not believe that a bacterium could live in the acidic environment of the stomach. To force humans to pay attention to the theory, Marshall drank a test tube full of bacteria and immediately began to develop symptoms of the disease, which was treated with antibiotics. In 1984 he was awarded a scholarship to research the pylori and gastritis and became a researcher at the University of Virginia in the USA.

He returned to Australia in 1997, and held the Burnett Chair at the University of Western Australia between 1998-2003. Lord May of Oxford, President of the British Royal Society says: "The work of Barry Marshall and Robin Warren represented one of the most radical and important changes in the last 50 years in the perception of the medical condition. The result of the research led to the recognition that gastrological disorders arise as a result of infection with the disease, and the reversal of the previous concept that these are physiological diseases. "Thanks to Marshall Warren's groundbreaking discovery, it is possible to cure diseases affecting the digestive system, which were once considered chronic, using antibiotics," the award committee said in a statement. Before the discovery, it was thought that stress and lifestyle were the main causes of these diseases.

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