Professor Barry Marshall – Nobel Laureate

By Adem Lewis / in , , , /

The concept of discovering a new bacteria
which proved that all the medical books were wrong and had to be re-written, that was kind of
exciting to us. At The University of Western Australia I did
medicine, which in those days was a five to six-year course called a Bachelor of Medicine,
Bachelor of Surgery. Over the years I’ve been supported by the
University and other institutions in Western Australia and I was always surprised, I didn’t
really think I was deserving. The University of Western Australia had so
many people that were world experts and so when I started working with Dr Warren I was
able to take our findings and go and discuss it with people and really get an international
standard peer review for the local research. If I’d never won the Nobel Prize I think
I still would have been pretty satisfied about the discovery we made that Helicobacter is
the cause of peptic ulcer. In fact the medical books said bacteria
cannot live in the stomach because there is acid there and you can easily see that
bacteria are killed by acid. The discovery by Dr Warren and myself has
benefited millions of people, maybe saved a million lives over the last 10 years or
20 years. I spent 10 years in the United States where
I was a tenured professor at the University of Virginia. For me it is very, very efficient to work from
Western Australia; it’s on Beijing time, Singapore time, so really about a third of
the world’s population is in the same time zone and within reach of an overnight flight
so The University of Western Australia was always attracting me back. There is a future for Helicobacter. People who have severe allergies, asthma,
maybe even auto immune diseases could benefit in some way by having an exposure to Helicobacter. So the new thing is to study the relationship between
Helicobacter and the immune system and then we’re working on a product based on Helicobacter
which could ultimately help people with allergies.

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