STOCKHOLM - Australians Barry Marshall and Robin Warren won the 2005 Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for showing that bacterial infection, not stress, is to blame for painful ulcers in the stomach and intestine.
The 1982 discovery transformed peptic-ulcer disease from a chronic, frequently disabling condition to one that can be cured by a short regimen of antibiotics and other medicines, the Nobel Prize committee said.
Thanks to their work, it has now been established that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori, which the new Nobel winners discovered, is the most common cause of peptic ulcers.
The Australians' proposal of a microbial cause instead was “very controversial and unexpected,” said Goran Hansson, who presides over the Nobel committee that awards the medicine or physiology prize. “They had to spend the first few years convincing the rest of the world.”
Mr. Marshall even deliberately infected himself with the bacterium in 1985 and showed that it caused stomach illness, noted Lord May of Oxford, president of Britain's Royal Society. Mr. Marshall suffered inflammation, which can lead to an ulcer.
Mr. Marshall, 54, and Mr. Warren, 68, celebrated their new honour with champagne and beer.
Read the rest of the story here.