Heart Medicine Pioneer James Black Dead at 85

Scottish pharmacologist invented beta blockers
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 23, 2010 5:23 AM CDT
Nobel-prize winning pharmacologist James Black poses after receiving an honorary degree in 2005.   (AP Photo/ Dundee University)
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(Newser) – James Black, the Nobel prize-winning scientist whose invention of beta-blocker drugs is credited with saving hundreds of thousands of lives, has died after a long illness. The Scotsman's discovery of propranolol and pronethalol revolutionized the treatment of heart patients and was "one of the few things that really deserves the moniker 'landmark,'" the chief of the American Heart Association tells AP.

Black, who also pioneered treatments for heartburn and ulcers, was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for Medicine in 1988 and was Chancellor of the University of Dundee from 1992 to 2006. "He was a great scientist who took a keen interest in the development of our research here at Dundee, but he was also a great man to know," the university's vice-chancellor told the Scotsman. "He inspired so many people, from students to senior academics and industrialists, right up until the last few months of his life."

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