John Robin Warren

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John Robin Warren, 2009

John Robin Warren , also J. Robin Warren , (born June 11, 1937 in Adelaide , Australia ) is an Australian pathologist and Nobel Laureate in Physiology and Medicine in 2005.


After completing his medical studies at the University of Adelaide in 1961, he worked for the Royal Melbourne Hospital and the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia. In 1967 Warren moved to Perth, Western Australia, and worked at the Royal Perth Hospital until the death of his wife Win Warren in 1997.

Together with doctor Barry Marshall , he received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in December 2005 for the discovery of the gastric bacterium Helicobacter pylori and the elucidation of its role in the formation of gastric ulcers and gastric cancer . In 1994, both researchers had already received the Warren Alpert Foundation Prize , and in 1997 the Paul Ehrlich and Ludwig Darmstaedter Prize . Warren and Marshall identified a new species of bacteria in biopsies from patients with gastritis (inflammation of the stomach) , which they described as Helicobacter pylori .

In a self-experiment by Marshall in 1984, it was possible to prove that the most important reasons for gastric mucosal inflammation, gastric ulcers and stomach cancer are not stress and over-acidification of the stomach , but the newly discovered bacterium. After the two researchers had succeeded in cultivating Helicobacter pylori , Marshall agreed to swallow billions of the bacteria. Up until this point in time, it was generally accepted that bacteria could not survive the acidic environment of the stomach. After just one week, Marshall showed the first acute symptoms of gastritis and after a biopsy it was clear that both an H. pylori infection and severe gastritis had developed. Marshall was cured by treatment with bismuth and antibiotics .

Subsequently, Warren, Marshall and other scientists found that most cases of gastric ulcer and also some cases of gastric cancer can be traced back to the supposedly harmless bacterium H. pylori . At the same time, they were able to show that a cure is possible through the administration of antibiotics. In addition, they provided evidence that certain bacteria can also survive in the extreme environment of gastric acid (pH 1–1.4 on an empty stomach).

Robin Warren and his wife have six children.

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