Nobel winner and organ transplant pioneer Joseph Murray dies at 93

Tue Nov 27, 2012 9:41am IST

Nobel Prize winner Joseph Murray smiles after learning that he had received the honor for medicine along with another American, October 8, 1990. Murray, the surgeon who carried out the first successful kidney transplant and later won a Nobel Prize for his work in medicine and physiology, died on Monday in Boston at the age of 93. REUTERS/Stringer/Files

Nobel Prize winner Joseph Murray smiles after learning that he had received the honor for medicine along with another American, October 8, 1990. Murray, the surgeon who carried out the first successful kidney transplant and later won a Nobel Prize for his work in medicine and physiology, died on Monday in Boston at the age of 93.

Credit: Reuters/Stringer/Files

Related Topics

REUTERS - Dr. Joseph Murray, the surgeon who carried out the first successful kidney transplant and later won a Nobel Prize for his work in medicine and physiology, died on Monday in Boston at the age of 93.

Murray died after suffering a stroke last Thursday, Brigham and Women's Hospital spokesman Tom Langford said.

Murray and his team completed the first human organ transplant in 1954, taking a kidney from one identical twin and giving it to his twin brother, opening a new field in medicine, the hospital said.

"The world is a better place because of all Dr. Murray has given. His legacy will forever endure in our hearts and in every patient who has received the gift of life through transplantation," hospital president Dr. Elizabeth Nabel said in a statement.

Later in his career, Murray continued to search for ways of suppressing a patient's immune response to prevent it from rejecting foreign tissue, eventually becoming a co-winner of the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1990.

"Difficulties are opportunities. This is a quote that sits atop my father's desk at home. It reflects the unwavering optimism of a great man who was generous, curious, and always humble," his son Rick said in a statement.

Murray began a career in medicine on graduating from Harvard Medical School in the 1940s, and developed an interest in transplanting tissue while working with service personnel injured in World War Two, according to the Britannica Online Encyclopedia.

He completed his surgical training at the Brigham and Women's Hospital and later returned to join the staff and serve as chief of plastic surgery.

With broad interests beyond medicine, Murray said in a brief autobiography for the Nobel Prize organization that he and his extended family had been "blessed in our lives beyond my wildest dreams."

"My only wish would be to have 10 more lives to live on this planet. If that were possible, I'd spend one lifetime each in embryology, genetics, physics, astronomy and geology," he said.

"The other lifetimes would be as a pianist, backwoodsman, tennis player, or writer for the National Geographic."

More than 600,000 people worldwide have received transplants since Murray's innovation, the hospital said.

(Additional reporting by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Lisa Shumaker)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

MIDDLE EAST CRISIS

WORLD SHOWCASE

Taiwan Blast

Taiwan Blast

Taiwan gas blast kills 22, injures 270, shoots flames high into the air.  Full Article 

Ebola Outbreak

Ebola Outbreak

Sierra Leone declares emergency as Ebola death toll hits 729.  Full Article 

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine Crisis

Ukraine premier stays on, envoys agree on crash site route.  Full Article 

A Tight Lid

A Tight Lid

Thai junta gives security forces majority in interim legislature.  Full Article 

Muzzling Dissent

Muzzling Dissent

China trial of Uighur scholar within weeks, imam reported killed  Full Article 

Medical Advancement

Medical Advancement

Hungarian scientists aim for prototype of cancer surgery device  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage