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John R. Vane

John R. VaneAKA John Robert Vane

Born: 29-Mar-1927
Birthplace: Tardebigg, Worcestershire, England
Died: 19-Nov-2004
Location of death: Farnborough, Kent, England
Cause of death: Pneumonia

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

Nationality: England
Executive summary: Prostaglandins

Even before John R. Vane was born, aspirin was the world's most widely-used pain reliever, but the reason why it works was not fully understood. Vane discovered that the body's production of certain prostaglandins is slowed by aspirin, and since these specific prostaglandins are associated with pain, fever, and inflammation, his findings finally explained aspirin's medical effectiveness. Putting his discovery in plain English, Vane said, "All prostaglandins are not 'good boys', and some of them are 'bad boys' -- pain producers, which are better eliminated."

He also discovered prostacyclin, which relaxes blood vessels, and showed that aspirin is also therapeutic for heart and blood vessel disease. His work led to the development of cox-2 inhibitors for pain and inflammation, and angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE inhibitors) for lowering blood pressure.

Vane was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1982, sharing the recognition with Sune K. Bergström and Bengt I. Samuelsson, though Vane's work was conducted independently of collaborations. In 1984 he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II. In his later career, he founded the William Harvey Research Institute, which raises and administers funds for cardiovascular research, and is now affiliated with the University of London.

Father: Maurice Vane (owned portable building manufacturer)
Mother: Frances Vane
Wife: Elizabeth Daphne Page Vane
Daughter: Nicole Vane
Daughter: Miranda Vane

    High School: King Edward VI High School, Edgbaston, Birmingham, UK (1944)
    University: Chemistry, University of Birmingham (1944-46, transferred to Oxford)
    University: BS Pharmacology, Oxford University (1948)
    Scholar: Pharmacology, University of Sheffield
    University: PhD Physiology, Oxford University (1953)
    Teacher: Pharmacology, Yale University (1953-55)
    Teacher: Basic Medical Sciences, University of London (1955-59)
    Professor: Experimental Pharmacology, University of London (1959-2004)
    Professor: Pharmacology, University of Alberta (1977)
    Professor: Pharmacology, Harvard University (1979)

    Lasker Award 1977
    Nobel Prize for Medicine 1982 (with Sune K. Bergström and Bengt I. Samuelsson)
    Knight of the British Empire 1984
    American Physiological Society
    National Academy of Sciences
    Royal Society Fellowship (1951-53), Membership (1974)
    Wellcome Trust Director of Research & Development (1973-1985)
    Russian Ancestry

Author of books:
Metabolic Functions of the Lung (1977, with Y. S. Bakhle)
Prostacyclin (1979, with Sune K. Bergström)
Aspirin and other salicylates (1992, with Regina M. Botting)


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