Endocrinology

Endocrinology: timeline of key events

Brown-Sequard was a physiologist and neurologist. He is best known for his discovery of the physiology of the spinal cord and the need for the adrenal gland. In addition, he predicted the existence of hormones. He sparked controversy after claiming to have rejuvenated his sexual prowess by injecting himself with extracts of monkey testis. His response to the extracts is now considered to have been placebo but his experiment helped found endocrinology as a discipline.1817-04-08T00:00:00+0000Kocher was a physician and medical researcher who was a major pioneer in the fields of applied surgery, neurosurgery and, especially, thyroid surgery and endocrinology. His success in the field of surgery is attributed to his implementation of antiseptic wound treatment, use of special masks on patients for anaesthesia and controlling blood loss during surgery. Kocher was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1909 for his work on the physiology, pathology and surgery of the thyroid. He was the first Swiss person and first surgeon to ever receive the prize. Within the field of neurosurgery he showed that some epilepsy cases were caused by brain tumours that could be surgically removed.1841-08-25T00:00:00+0000Bayliss was a physiologist who, together with Ernest Starling, discovered the first hormone, in 1902 The two scientists named the hormone 'secretin' after the Greek word meaning to set in motion. The hormone helps secrete pancreatic juice when food enters the intestines. Bayliss subsequently worked out how trypsin, an enzyme, formed in the small intestine and the time it took to digest protein. He also saved the lives of many soldiers in World War I by recommending injections of gum-saline injections. This was based on his studies of wound shock. 1860-05-02T00:00:00+0000Macleod was a Scottish physician and biochemist who was a key adviser in the original experiments carried out by Frederick Grant Banting Charles Best to establish the use of insulin as a treatment for diabetes. Macleod provided the laboratory space and experimental animals for the work. He was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for helping develop insulin therapy for diabetes in 1923.1876-09-06T00:00:00+0000Kendall made several contributions to biochemistry and medicine. He is best known for isolating the steroid cortisone from the adrenal gland cortex, subsequently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1950. He also isolated thyroxine, the main hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which is vital to digestion, heart and muscle function and brain development and bone maintenance. 1886-03-08T00:00:00+0000Banting was a physician who helped discover and isolate insulin. He also pioneered the extraction of insulin from pigs and cattle and demonstrated its use to treat diabetes in dogs. In 1923 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this work. 1891-11-14T00:00:00+0000Moore was a zoologist who devoted his career to studying the reoproductive tract of male mammals and the physiology of spermatozoa. He played a pivotal role in 1929 in isolating the testicular secretion containing the male sex hormones andresterone and testosterone. This discovery opened up the path to researching the chemical composition of the hormones and their production. 1892-12-05T00:00:00+0000Brown-Sequard was a Mauritian physiologist and neurologist. He is best known for his discovery of the physiology of the spinal cord and the need for the adrenal gland. In addition, he predicted the existence of hormones. He sparked controversy after claiming to have rejuvenated his sexual prowess by injecting himself with extracts of monkey testis. His response to the extracts is now considered to have been placebo but his experiment helped found endocrinology as a discipline. 1894-04-02T00:00:00+0000Hench was a physician who helped discover cortisone, a hormone of the adrenal cortex, and demonstrate its utility for treating rheumatoid arthritis. He headed up the Department of Rheumatic Diseases at the the Mayo Clinic. Early on he hypothesised that steroids could alleviate the pain associated with the disease, but the difficulty and expense of production hindered his ability to try out his theory. The clinical trials were finally carried out in 1948 and 1949. Hench was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work in 1950.1896-02-28T00:00:00+0000The child of Polish-Jewish parents, Reichstein was a chemist who in 1933 managed to synthesise vitamin C. His name is associated now with the industrial process for the artificial synthesis of vitamin C. In 1950 he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to isolate and explain the function of the hormones of the adrenal cortex and its therapeutic value for treating rheumatoid arthritis. He spent the last three decades of his life working on the phytochemistry and cytology of ferns. 1897-07-20T00:00:00+0000An American-Canadian physiologist, Best is best known as the medical student who helped Frederick Banting discover insulin, a pancreatic hormone, which laid the foundation for the effective treatment of diabetes. In 1923 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery. 1899-02-27T00:00:00+0000Huggins was a surgeon and medical researcher who shared the 1966 Nobel Prize for showing the relationship between certain hormones and certain cancers. In 1941 he demonstrated that it was possible to slow down the growth of prostrate cancer using oestrogen, a female hormone. This is now a common method for treating prostrate cancer. Later on Huggins demonstrated that it was possible to slow down some breast cancers by removing the ovaries and adrenal glands which produce oestrogen. Drugs to block the body's production of oestrogen are now routinely used for treating breast cancer. 1901-09-22T00:00:00+0000Sutherland was a pharmacologist and biochemist who helped work out the action of hormone action at the molecular level. He made several breakthroughs, including the identification of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP), a substance that acts as a secondary messenger in cells and has an important role in the actions of hormones at the cellular level. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1971 on the back of this work. 1915-11-19T00:00:00+0000Kocher was a Swiss physician and medical researcher who was a major pioneer in the fields of applied surgery, neurosurgery and, especially, thyroid surgery and endocrinology. His success in the field of surgery is attributed to his implementation of antiseptic wound treatment, use of special masks on patients for anaesthesia and controlling blood loss during surgery. Kocher was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1909 for his work on the physiology, pathology and surgery of the thyroid. He was the first Swiss person and first surgeon to ever receive the prize. Within the field of neurosurgery he showed that some epilepsy cases were caused by brain tumours that could be surgically removed. 1917-07-27T00:00:00+0000The hormone was discovered by Herbert Evans and Joseph Long when they treated rats with extracts from bovine anterior pituitary glands which they found increased their growth. They published their findings in HM Evans, JA Long, 'The effect of the anterior lobe administered intraperitoneally upon growth maturation, and oestrus cycles of the rat', Anatomical Record, 21 (1921) 62–63.1921-01-01T00:00:00+0000Yalow was a medical physicist who made her name by helping to develop the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique. RIA uses two reagents. One is a radioisotope atom bound to a molecule of the target substance and the other is an antibody that will bind to the target substance when the two are in contact. Measurements are taken of the initial radioactivity of the mixture which is then added to a measured quantity of fluid, such as blood, that contains low concentrations of an unknown target substance. The test takes advantage of the fact that antibodies prefer to attach to non-radioactive molecules. Measurements are taken of the reduction in radioactivity of the antibody reagent to calculate the concentration of the target substance. The RIA method is now an important component in diagnostic tests, being used to measure the concentration of hormones, vitamins, viruses, enzymes, drugs and other substances. The technique transformed the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and other hormonal problems related to growth, thyroid function and fertility. It is used to test for phenylketonuria in newborn babies, a rare inherited disorder that if left untreated can lead to intellectual disability, seizures, behavioral problems and mental disorder. In 1977 Yalow became the second woman in history to win the Nobel Prize. It was awarded on the basis of her RIA work. 1921-07-19T00:00:00+0000Guillemin was a physiologist who shared the 1977 Nobel Prize for Medicine for showing that the hypothalamus in the brain releases hormones that regulate the pituitary gland. He helped to discover and isolate a number of hormones including TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone), which regulates thyroid activity; GHRH (growth hormone-releasing hormone), which causes the pituitary to release gonadotropin; and somatostatin, which regulates the activities of the pituitary gland and the pancreas. He also discovered endorphins, a class of proteins that are involved in the perception of pain. 1924-01-11T00:00:00+0000Bayliss was a British physiologist who, together with Ernest Starling, discovered the first hormone, in 1902. The two scientists named the hormone 'secretin' after the Greek word meaning to set in motion. The hormone helps secrete pancreatic juice when food enters the intestines. Bayliss subsequently worked out how trypsin, an enzyme, formed in the small intestine, and the time it took to digest protein. He also saved the lives of many soldiers in World War I by recommending injections of gum-saline injections. This was based on his studies of wound shock.1924-08-27T00:00:00+0000Schally was an endocrinologist who won the 1977 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for isolating and synthesising three hormones produced by the hypothalmus in the brain which control the activities of hormone producing glands. The hormones he worked on were TRH (thyrotropin-releasing hormone), LHRH (luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone), and the peptide somatostatin. His work led to recognition of the hypothalmus as the controlling factor of the pituitary gland and opened a new chapter for research into fertility, contraception, diabetes, abnormal growth, mental retardation as well as depression and other mental disorders. 1926-11-30T00:00:00+0000Macleod was a Scottish physician and biochemist who was a key adviser in the original experiments carried out by Frederick Grant Banting Charles Best to establish the use of insulin as a treatment for diabetes. Macleod provided the laboratory space and experimental animals for the work. He was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for helping develop insulin therapy for diabetes in 1923. 1935-03-16T00:00:00+0000Gram was a Danish bacteriologist who developed a method to quickly identify two different large groups of bacteria. His method is now routinely used for histology and microbiology. Bacteria that absorb the stain which turn purple are known as Gram positive bacteria, and those that do not absorb the stain, which might be coloured pink with a counterstain, are labelled Gram negative. 1938-11-14T00:00:00+0000Banting was a Canadian physician who helped discover and isolate insulin. He also pioneered the extraction of insulin from pigs and cattle and demonstrated its use to treat diabetes in dogs. In 1923 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for this work. 1944-02-21T00:00:00+0000Moore was an American zoologist who devoted his career to studying the reoproductive tract of male mammals and the physiology of spermatozoa. He played a pivotal role in 1929 in isolating the testicular secretion containing the male sex hormones andresterone and testosterone. This discovery opened up the path to researching the chemical composition of the hormones and their production. 1955-10-16T00:00:00+0000Hench was a physician who helped discover cortisone, a hormone of the adrenal cortex, and demonstrate its utility for treating rheumatoid arthritis. He headed up the Department of Rheumatic Diseases at the the Mayo Clinic. Early on he hypothesised that steroids could alleviate the pain associated with the disease, but the difficulty and expense of production hindered his ability to try out his theory. The clinical trials were finally carried out in 1948 and 1949. Hench was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work in 1950.1965-03-30T00:00:00+0000Kendall made several contributions to biochemistry and medicine. He is best known for isolating the steroid cortisone from the adrenal gland cortex, subsequently used to treat rheumatoid arthritis, for which he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1950. He also isolated thyroxine, the main hormone secreted by the thyroid gland which is vital to digestion, heart and muscle function and brain development and bone maintenance. 1972-05-04T00:00:00+0000Sutherland was an American pharmacologist and biochemist who helped work out the action of hormone action at the molecular level. He made several breakthroughs, including the identification of cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cyclic AMP), a substance that acts as a secondary messenger in cells and has an important role in the actions of hormones at the cellular level. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1971 on the back of this work.1974-03-09T00:00:00+0000An American-Canadian physiologist, Best is best known as the medical student who helped Frederick Banting discover insulin, a pancreatic hormone, which laid the foundation for the effective treatment of diabetes. In 1923 he was jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery. 1978-03-31T00:00:00+0000Butenandt was a German biochemist. In 1931 he managed to extract estrone and other primary female sex hormones from urine. Three years later he extracted progeterone and testosterone a year later. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1939 for his discovery of sex hormones. Initially Butenandt rejected the Prize in accordance with Nazi government policy, but accepted it in 1949. His involvement with the Nazi regime and science to aid its war efforts led to criticism after World War II. He served as the president of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science between 1960 and 1972.1995-01-18T00:00:00+0000The child of Polish-Jewish parents, Reichstein was a chemist who in 1933 managed to synthesise vitamin C. His name is associated now with the industrial process for the artificial synthesis of vitamin C. In 1950 he shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to isolate and explain the function of the hormones of the adrenal cortex and its therapeutic value for treating rheumatoid arthritis. He spent the last three decades of his life working on the phytochemistry and cytology of ferns. '.1996-08-01T00:00:00+0000Huggins was a Canadian surgeon and medical researcher who shared the 1966 Nobel Prize for showing the relationship between certain hormones and certain cancers. In 1941 he demonstrated that it was possible to slow down the growth of prostrate cancer using oestrogen, a female hormone. This is now a common method for treating prostrate cancer. Later on Huggins showed that it was possible to slow down some breast cancers by removing the ovaries and adrenal glands which produce oestrogen. Drugs to block the body's production of oestrogen are now routinely used for treating breast cancer.1997-01-12T00:00:00+0000Yalow was an American medical physicist who made her name by helping to develop the radioimmunoassay (RIA) technique. RIA uses two reagents. One is a radioisotope atom bound to a molecule of the target substance and the other is an antibody that will bind to the target substance when the two are in contact. Measurements are taken of the initial radioactivity of the mixture which is then added to a measured quantity of fluid, such as blood, that contains low concentrations of an unknown target substance. The test takes advantage of the fact that antibodies prefer to attach to non-radioactive molecules. Measurements are taken of the reduction in radioactivity of the antibody reagent to calculate the concentration of the target substance. The RIA method is now an important component in diagnostic tests, being used to measure the concentration of hormones, vitamins, viruses, enzymes, drugs and other substances. The technique transformed the diagnosis and treatment of diabetes and other hormonal problems related to growth, thyroid function and fertility. It is used to test for phenylketonuria in newborn babies, a rare inherited disorder that if left untreated can lead to intellectual disability, seizures, behavioral problems and mental disorder. In 1977 Yalow became the second woman in history to win the Nobel Prize. It was awarded on the basis of her RIA work. 2011-05-30T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places
8 Apr 1817Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard was born in Port Louis, MauritiusBrown-SequardPort Louis, Mauritius
25 Aug 1841Emil Theodor Kocher was born in Berne, SwitzerlandKocherUniversity of Berne
2 May 1860William M Bayliss was born in Wednesbury, Staffordshire, UKBaylissUniversity College London
6 Sep 1876John J R Macleod was bornMacleodUniversity of Aberdeen
8 Mar 1886Edward Calvin Kendall was born in South Norwalk CT, USAKendallMayo Clinic
14 Nov 1891Frederick Grant Banting was born in Alliston, CanadaGrantUniversity of Toronto
5 Dec 1892Carl R Moore was born in Missouri, USAMooreUniversity of Chicago
2 Apr 1894Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard diedBrown-Sequard 
28 Feb 1896Philip Showalter Hench was born in Pittsburgh PA, USAHenchMayo Clinic
20 Jul 1897Tadeus Reichstein was born in Wloclawek, PolandReichsteinBasel University
1899Charles H Best was born in West Pembroke, ME, USABestUniversity of Toronto
22 Sep 1901Charles B Huggins was born Halifax, CanadaHugginsUniversity of Chicago
19 Nov 1915Earl W Sutherland was born in Burlingame, Kansas, USASutherlandVanderbilt University
27 Jul 1917Emil Theodor Kocher diedKocherUniversity of Berne
1921Human growth hormone discovered Evans, Long 
19 Jul 1921Rosalyn Yalow was born in New York, USAYalowVeterans Administration Hospital
11 Jan 1924Roger Guillemin was born in Dijon, FranceGuilleminSalk Institute
27 Aug 1924William M Bayliss diedBaylissUniversity College London
30 Nov 1926Andrew V Schally was born in Wilno (now Vilnius), Poland (now Lithuania)SchallyVeterans Administration Hospital
16 Mar 1935John J R Macleod diedMacleodUniversity of Aberdeen
14 Nov 1938Hans C J Gram died GramUniversity of Copenhagen
21 Feb 1944Frederick Grant Banting diedBantingUniversity of Toronto
16 Oct 1955Carl R Moore diedC MooreUniversity of Chicago
30 Mar 1965Philip Showalter Hench diedHenchMayo Clinic
4 May 1972Edward Calvin Kendall diedKendallMayo Clinic
9 Mar 1974Earl W Sutherland diedSutherlandVanderbilt University
1978Charles H Best diedBestUniversity of Toronto
18 Jan 1995Adolf F J Butenandt diedButenandtMax Planck Institute
1 Aug 1996Tadeus Reichstein diedReichsteinBasel University
12 Jan 1997Charles B Huggins diedHugginsUniversity of Chicago
30 May 2011Rosalyn Yalow diedYalowVeterans Administration Hospital

8 Apr 1817

Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard was born in Port Louis, Mauritius

25 Aug 1841

Emil Theodor Kocher was born in Berne, Switzerland

2 May 1860

William M Bayliss was born in Wednesbury, Staffordshire, UK

6 Sep 1876

John J R Macleod was born

8 Mar 1886

Edward Calvin Kendall was born in South Norwalk CT, USA

14 Nov 1891

Frederick Grant Banting was born in Alliston, Canada

5 Dec 1892

Carl R Moore was born in Missouri, USA

2 Apr 1894

Charles-Edouard Brown-Sequard died

28 Feb 1896

Philip Showalter Hench was born in Pittsburgh PA, USA

20 Jul 1897

Tadeus Reichstein was born in Wloclawek, Poland

1899

Charles H Best was born in West Pembroke, ME, USA

22 Sep 1901

Charles B Huggins was born Halifax, Canada

19 Nov 1915

Earl W Sutherland was born in Burlingame, Kansas, USA

27 Jul 1917

Emil Theodor Kocher died

1921

Human growth hormone discovered

19 Jul 1921

Rosalyn Yalow was born in New York, USA

11 Jan 1924

Roger Guillemin was born in Dijon, France

27 Aug 1924

William M Bayliss died

30 Nov 1926

Andrew V Schally was born in Wilno (now Vilnius), Poland (now Lithuania)

16 Mar 1935

John J R Macleod died

14 Nov 1938

Hans C J Gram died

21 Feb 1944

Frederick Grant Banting died

16 Oct 1955

Carl R Moore died

30 Mar 1965

Philip Showalter Hench died

4 May 1972

Edward Calvin Kendall died

9 Mar 1974

Earl W Sutherland died

1978

Charles H Best died

18 Jan 1995

Adolf F J Butenandt died

1 Aug 1996

Tadeus Reichstein died

12 Jan 1997

Charles B Huggins died

30 May 2011

Rosalyn Yalow died