Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Joseph Murray, transplant pioneer

Yesterday, the scientific community lost a true pioneer . . . Joseph Murray, who pioneered skin grafting and developed the first successful organ transplant.  In 1954, he transplanted a kidney from one adult twin to his identical sibling.  He continued to pioneer transplant techniques that have saved countless lives.

"In the twentieth century, Joseph Murray . . . noticed that skin he grafted onto burned soldiers he treated during World War II would eventually be rejected by the body. After the war, Murray tried to understand the body’s immune reactions to transplanted tissues and his work led to the first successful kidney transplants. His breakthroughs in transplanting kidneys not only earned him a Nobel Prize in 1990, it also paved the way for all the different types of tissue and organ transplantation that we see today."

93-year-old Joseph E. Murray suffered a stroke on Thanksgiving day and died yesterday in Boston.

I think the occasional story of a pioneer in the history of human science adds a lot to the A&P course.  Such stories give a human dimension to the pursuit of science and provide the context needed for students to understand how we know what we know.

Today we have a sad but important occasion to bring up the amazing accomplishments of Joseph E. Murray with our students.

Want to know more?
  • Joseph E. Murray, Transplant Doctor and Nobel Prize Winner, Dies at 93
    • The New York Times Published online: November 27, 2012
    • [Obituary of Murray]
    • my-ap.us/Tjwvn7
  • Hope, Innovation: Remembering A Transplant Pioneer
    • Renee Montagne
    • National Public Radio (NPR) Morning Edition Broadcast/published online November 27, 2012
    • [Renee Montagne talks with Dr. Atul Gawande about the life and work of Dr. Joseph E. Murray, who performed the first successful organ transplant in 1954. Murray died Monday at age 93.]
    • Text my-ap.us/SbAjZ3
    • Audio[4 min 15 sec] my-ap.us/QJLI5n
  • Interview with Joseph E. Murray
    • Nobel Web (nobelprize.org) Accessed 27 November 2012
    • [Interview with Joseph E. Murray by Sten Orrenius at the meeting of Nobel Laureates in Lindau, Germany, June 2000. Joseph Murray talks about what led him into research; developing transplantation medicine (2:38); and whether breakthroughs in clinical research are often ignored by the Nobel Prize Committee (13:10).]
    • my-ap.us/Y1v8Ro
  • Nobel Lecture by Joseph E. Murray
    • Nobel Web (nobelprize.org) Accessed 27 November 2012
    • [Joseph E. Murray held his Nobel Lecture on 8 December 1990, at Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm. He was presented by Professor Hans Wigzell of the Karolinska Institutet.]
    • my-ap.us/QomBDI

Related textbook content
  • Anatomy & Physiology 8th ed.  p. 754, 767, 772-773, 996, A&P Connect: The Nobel Legacy my-ap.us/QZTbK1
  • The Human Body in Health and Disease 5th ed. p. 94-95, 154 my-ap.us/fNN00N 

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