The man who probably did more to benefit patients with asthma and COPD than anyone else in history

Sir David Jack, the former Director of Research and Development at Glaxo, died in November 2011 at the age of 87 years. He probably did more to benefit patients with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease than anyone else in history, according to his obituary in the journal Thorax written by Peter J Barnes.

Sir David Jack discovered:

- the first beta-2-selective agonist (salbutamol, called albuterol in the U.S.)
- the first inhaled corticosteroid (beclomethasone dipropionate)
- the first long-acting beta-2-agonist (salmeterol)
- the most widely used inhaled corticosteroid (fluticasone propionate)
- the best-selling asthma treatment of all time (Seretide. called Advair in the U.S.).

He also discovered several other important drugs, including the histamine H2-receptor antagonist ranitidine (Zantac), which became the best-selling drug of its day, and sumatriptan (Imigran), a novel therapy for migraine.

David Jack was born in is a small town in Scotland, the sixth and youngest child of a coal miner.

It is extraordinary that the other great drug discoverer of our time, Sir James Black, who went on to discover beta-blockers and histamine H2-receptor antagonists, was born in the same year (1924) in a nearby village.


David Jack (1924–2011) who revolutionised the treatment of asthma. Thorax 2012;67:266-267 doi:10.1136/thoraxjnl-2011-201522
Sir David Jack. The Lancet.
Sir David Jack. The Telegraph.
Sir David Jack: Pioneering chemist who revolutionised the treatment of asthma. The Independent.
Image source: Levosalbutamol (INN) or levalbuterol (USAN), trade name Xopenex, is the R-enantiomer of the short-acting β2-adrenergic receptor agonist albuterol (salbutamol). Wikipedia, public domain.

Comments from Google Plus and Twitter:

Nick Watts, Feb 19, 2012: I can't believe that one man discovered what is basically the entire first couple of steps of the modern treatment for asthma. Thanks for the share.

Dr John Weiner @AllergyNet: Thanks Ves, I was unaware of this. His obit:

No comments:

Post a Comment