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George H. Hitchings

George H. HitchingsAKA George Herbert Hitchings, Jr.

Born: 18-Apr-1905
Birthplace: Hoquiam, WA
Died: 27-Feb-1998
Location of death: Chapel Hill, NC
Cause of death: unspecified

Gender: Male
Religion: Christian
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Scientist

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Developed medicines for leukemia, herpes, arthritis

American pharmacologist George H. Hitchings was a long-time lab director and later Vice President of Burroughs-Wellcome, a pharmaceutical company which has since been absorbed into GlaxoSmithKline. Hitchings and his colleagues developed new methods for pharmaceutical research, analyzing the deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA) in normal human cells and comparing it with the DNA in diseased cells, bacteria, protozoa and viruses, to determine how cells assemble the genetic building blocks of DNA, and designing drugs that interrupt that process. Hitchings' lab introduced several new drugs, including acyclovir (for herpes), allopurinol (for gout), azathioprine (which suppresses the body's rejection of transplanted organs, and is also useful for arthritis and other immune disorders), thioguanine and 6-mercaptopurine (for leukemia), and trimethoprim (for bacterial infections).

He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1988, sharing the honor with Gertrude B. Elion, who had been the second employee hired in his lab at Burroughs-Wellcome, and with Sir James W. Black. Hitchings donated his Nobel funds to a charity he had established, which provides health care for the poor and protects battered women.

Father: George Herbert Hitchings, Sr. (ship builder, d. 1917)
Mother: Lillian Matthews Hitchings
Wife: Beverly Reimer Hitchings (m. 1933, d. 1985 collagen disease)
Daughter: Laramie Ruth Hitchings Brown
Son: Thomas Eldridge Hitchings
Wife: Joyce Shaver Hitchings (b. 1931, dated 1988-89, m. 1989)

    High School: Franklin High School, Seattle, WA (1923)
    University: BS Chemistry, University of Washington (1927)
    University: MS Chemistry, University of Washington (1928)
    Teacher: Chemistry, Harvard University (1928-39)
    University: PhD Chemistry, Harvard University (1933)
    Scholar: Public Health, Harvard University
    Scholar: Electrolyte Research, Case Western Reserve University

    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1988 (with Gertrude B. Elion and James W. Black)
    GlaxoSmithKline VP Research (1967-76)
    GlaxoSmithKline lab worker, supervisor (1942-67)
    American Red Cross
    Wellcome Trust Director (1968-71), President (1971-83)
    United Way
    Alpha Chi Sigma Chemistry Fraternity
    Phi Beta Kappa Society 1923
    Canadian Ancestry Paternal
    English Ancestry Maternal
    Irish Ancestry Paternal
    Scottish Ancestry Maternal


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