1998 – Professor Barry Marshall & Professor Robin Warren
Barry James Marshall was born 30 September 1951 in Kalgoorlie and raised there and in Carnarvon before moving to Perth in Western Australia. Professor Marshall and his later colleague, Professor Robin Warren, were destined to meet and work together in WA.
Robin Warren was born 11June 1937 in Adelaide and undertook most of his education there before moving to Perth and joining Barry in their endeavours at the University of Western Australia.
Marshall and Warren are well-known for proving that a bacterium called Helocobacter pylori is the cause of most peptic ulcers. This reversed decades of medical doctrine holding that ulcers were caused by stress, spicy foods, and too much acid.
Professor Barry Marshall and Dr Robin Warren 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.
The two men worked with the departments of microbiology, gastroenterology and anatomical pathology, and the team developed tests to identify the infection in biopsy samples, blood and breath tests, and very effective treatment strategies with antibiotics.
Their landmark discovery has revolutionised the diagnosis and treatment of peptic ulcer disease and led to a reduction in the prevalence of gastric cancer.
After being recognised through the Florey Medal, the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Barry Marshall and Robin Warren, long time collaborators, “for their discovery of the bacterium Helicobacter pylori and its role in gastritis and peptic ulcer disease”.