George Richards Minot
George Richards Minot Biography
Claim to Fame: Nobel Prize winner
Date of Death: 1950
Diabetes Type: Unknown
George Richards Minot was born on December 2, 1885, in Boston, MA, the eldest son of a prominent physician. He graduated from both Harvard University and Harvard Medical School. He began his hospital training at Massachusetts General Hospital and then worked at Johns Hopkins Hospital and Medical School. In 1915 he was appointed Assistant in Medicine at the Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital. In 1928 he was elected Professor of Medicine at Harvard University, Director of the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory, and Visiting Physician to the Boston City Hospital.
Early on as a medical student, Minot became interested in disorders of the blood. In 1915 he turned his attention to various forms of anemia, specifically pernicious anemia, a disease which had no known cure at the time and which was almost always fatal to the patient. Minot suspected that the cause of pernicious anemia was some malfunction in the bone marrow, which was related to the diet of the patient. In the following years, he began focusing on cancer research and treatment. He was especially interested in leukemia, a cancerous disease of the blood. He researched and published papers on a wide variety of topics, including arthritis, cancer, dietary deficiencies, coagulation of the blood, blood transfusions, and the social aspects of disease.
In 1925, Minot returned his attention to the study of pernicious anemia. Based on earlier research done by Dr. George H. Whipple, Minot began to believe that feeding liver to patients with pernicious anemia might be a beneficial treatment. With the assistance of William P. Murphy, George Minot began to feed patients with pernicious anemia up to half a pound of liver a day. Within one to two weeks, nearly all of the patients began to show improvement. They were later able to develop an extract of pure liver that would be more convenient for the patients to take. It was for this work with anemia that Minot was awarded the 1934 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with George H. Whipple and William P. Murphy.
George Minot developed diabetes in 1921. His condition worsened until 1923, when insulin became available. Minot was one of the first patients treated with insulin, and it gave him a new lease on life. In 1947 Minot suffered a severe stroke that left him partially paralyzed and he died three years later.
Reviewed by dLife staff 02/15.
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