Poster for the celebration for winning of the 2005 Nobel prize in medicine by Prof. Robin Warren and Prof. Barry Marshall held by Prof. Bor-Shyang Sheu and Prof. Jiunn-Jong Wu.
iscovery of Helicobacter pylori
Does human stomach harbor bacteria? Can bacteria survive such an acidic environment as a stomach? In 1954, Palmer et al. analyzed 1140 post-modern gastric tissue and disclosed a negative finding that suggested human stomach should be a bacteria-free site. He concluded that all the bacteria in gastric tissue would be contaminated by oral flora after ingestion. The principle of Palmar thus defined a golden rule that had limited the research that led to the discovery of bacteria in human stomach for at least 20-30 years until the novel finding made public by Professor Robin Warren and Barry Marshall.
Robin Warren and CLO，1981
Professor Robin Warren, a pathologist of Royal Perth Hospital in western Australia reviewed and commented, “ On June 11, 1979, I was reviewing some slides of the gastric pathology as a routine, and suddenly an unusual sign appeared before my eyes: I saw several blue fine lines, which could be suggested as micro-pathogen bacteria under a high-resolution microscope.” The sentence was followed by the comment by Barry Marshall, who was the co-winner with Robin Warren of the 2005 Nobel Prize, “When Robin showed me the slides, I agreed with him and accepted his theory, and it was interesting to define such findings to be Campylobacter-like organisms, or CLO.” We believe that Professor Robin Warren is the first scientist in the world who first witnessed H. pylori. Based on his careful observation and the consistent belief in his scientific findings, he finally refuted not only the strictly-wrong principle formulated by Palmar, but also constructively contributed his findings to improving the welfare of human beings. Such consistent belief and thinking should be the most valuable and is an excellent model for all of us.
2005 Nobel laureate in medicine, Robin Warren (left) and Barry Marshall (right).Frustration from the publications about CLO in 1983
The first article about the discovery of CLO was received in January, 1983, and published in June, 1983, in the Lancet. However, such a striking and important finding was at first rejected by the Australian Gastroenterology Society in February, 1983. The rejection letter was also published in 2002 in the “Helicobacter Pioneer”, which was a complete story written by Barry Marshall. The implication suggested that we be open-minded to new findings, and think more about the scientific results rather than being influenced by political prejudice during the review of academic works. This history shows us that, despite its innovation, a great finding could still be rejected. Nevertheless, we should never overlook its potential if we believe the work is right and objective.