The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida on November 28, 1968 · Page 56
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November 28, 1968

A Publisher Extra Newspaper

The Palm Beach Post from West Palm Beach, Florida · Page 56

West Palm Beach, Florida
Issue Date:
Thursday, November 28, 1968
Page 56
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Page 56 article text (OCR)

Dll-Pilm Back Port. Ttantfay, Not. , lit Cortisone Breakthrough Recounted but t had received third-de I jesales -cf for who had rheumatoid arthritis. "It seemed certain to me that if Mrs. G. was to respond favorably to Compound E that result would be apparent by Saturday, September 25. I called St. Mary's HospitaL Dr. C. H. Slocumb, who was in charge of the hospital service of Dr. Hench's section of medicine, brought me up to date on the case. Mrs. G. had re members the events 20 years ago, particularly one little-known incident which might have indefinitely delayed the therapeutic use of cortisone. "I was holding a flask of -Compound E all that there ' was in my hand when a flash fire broke out in my laboratory," Sarett recalled. ."I tried to hold on to the flask, sponded on the second day and had continued to improve as 'ime passed. The answer to ny inquiry was an unqualified 'yes!'" Dr. Sarett, who synthesized cortisone in the laboratory and made mass production of the drug possible, is now vice president of Merck, Sharp and Dohme, in charge of basic research. He, too,-, vividly re II TV lUtWSUto IN THE BEAUTIFUL n- PALM BEACH MALL tion concerned a patient; Mrs. -G., who had rheumatoid arthritis. Dr. Hench wanted to help her and when he recalled my remark that Compound E would be available soon, he . decided to administer the hormone to Mrs. G. if this could be arranged. "Should he tell Mrs. G. that nothing more could be done at this time, or could he tell her that if she would stay in Rochester a further attempt would be made to relieve the symptoms of arthritis? The conversation was concluded by a promise on my part to provide sufficient Compound E for the treatment of one patient who had rheumatoid arthritis. Tbe telephone operator informed me that the charge for the call was $1.14. I reimbursed the farmer and returned to our cottage at the lake. "The suspension of the first gram of Compound E was sent to St. Mary's Hospital on Sept. 17, 1948. I was keenly aware that the day of reckoning had arrived. The question of whether Compound E could influence the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis was to be answered by Mrs. G. ... It was a relief to know that thr. answer would be disclosed in a matter of days, but doubt and uncertainty would remain until those days had passed. I had a strong inclination to call St. Mary's Hospital each day, but managed to desist until the end of the week. "I knew that there were 3.000,000 patients who had rheumatoid arthritis in the United States ... I tried not to think of Mrs. G. as the appointed delegate of all those be," I said. "He won the No-1 bel Prize for his work in chemistry." I finally found him in a bare, dark office, tucked away on the second floor of the chemistry building. Wearing an old tweed sweater, he sat behind a tidy desk, his gray hair sparse, his blue eyes lively, his hands steady at age 83. He had, he said, come to Princeton in 1951 after his retirement from the Mayo Clinic. ("What was I supposed to do? Sit around and think about how old I've become?") He remembered well the events surrounding the first administration of cortisone to a patient. In fact, he has written it all down in his memoirs, still unfinished. He showed me a few pages dealing with the cortisone experiments and I began to recapture the event in his words: "I took off a few days and remained at our cottage at Lake Zumbro. On Thursday I went into Rochester and found a note asking me to call Dr. Hench. "The nearest telephone I could use was located in a farm house about two miles away. It was an old-fashioned wall telephone the kind that was equipped with a crank to attract the attention of the operator. I mention this because I can still remember how uncomfortable were the following 45 minutes. The mouthpiece was placed so that I had to stand throughout the time we engaged in a discussion that we now know was the real turning point of Project E. "The telephone conversa 2 STORES TO SERVE YOU! FEATURING UNIFORMS BY: BARCO ' BROOKS WHITE SWAN BOB EVANS W also carry a complete line of Men's Uniforms. SHOES By American girl mi ' N animates. GIRDLES HOSIERY APRONS ALL FAMOUS BRANDS YEARS IN THE PAIM BEACHES! r f U -I 21 Palm Beach Mall Open 10 AM TO 930 PM 'IKS, WORLD BOOK SCIENCE SERVICE For four years, a 29-year-old housewife, Mrs. G. had become progressively more crippled by rheumatoid arthritis. During that time, she had received penicillin, gold salts, streptomycin and practically any drug that physicians believed might have the slight-. , est chance of easing her terri- .blepain. In spite of these treatments, her symptoms progressed. Eventually, she was unable to perform simple household tasks. By July, she was hospi-. talized. Her pain was agonizing and she was almost completely immobile. On September 21 her doctors at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., decided to give her an experimental drug, Compound E, as a last resort. On September 22 they Save her another injection of ,the compound. On September 23 she awoke fend rolled over in bed with case. The following day she raised her arms above her 'head. Within a week she left the hospital and went on a three-hour shopping spree in downtown Rochester. Compound E was re-named Cortisone, and when the above events happened 20 years ago it was considered one of the-greatest breakthroughs in medicine. It is certainly one of the best detective stories of modern science. In 1930, a group of physicians asked Dr. Edward C. Kendall to prepare an extract of the adrenal cortex the outer layer of the gland that sits astride the kidney in the hope it might combat Addison's disease. The late President Kennedy suffered from, this ailment in which the adrenal glands do not function. After nearly four years of painstaking effort. Dr. Kendall, director of chemistry at the Mayo Clinic, succeeded in isolating a few compounds in crystalline form from the adrenal cortex and gave them alphabetical labels A, B, C, DandE. Nothing much happened with the compounds until 1941 when Dr. Randolph T. Major, scientific director at Merck and Company, Rahway, N.J., asked Dr. Kendall to work on a project with Compound A. Vnited States Intelligence had reports that the Germans might be using Compound A to enable their fighter pilots to reach higher "altitutes." But: the work with Compound A proved disappointing, and tbe rumor about the Germans proved untrue. In the meantime, Dr. Philip Hench of the Mayo Clinic was trying to combat the crippling effects of arthritis in his patients. He had made two important observations: . Pregnancy lessened the symptoms of arthritis. Jaundice lessened the symptoms of arthritis. The one thing pregnancy and jaundice had in common was a high level of hormones e tardea LIL. and HANDICAPPED END OF MONTH RED-TAG SALE Starts Sat. Oct. 26 Ends Thurt. Oct. 31 tf Many items drastically re duced to make room for new merchandise arriving daily. it Our New & Only Location 2509 N. Dixit W. Mm Mch 832-4544 Ad procMdi bniH Palm laodi Bobilitotion Cntr When Shopping Use P-T Classified Kodel SHAG REG. $14.95 $C99 J YD. INDOOR OUTDOOR REC. $6.99 099 NOW L YD. NYLON CANDY STRIPE REC. 4.95 Nylon SHAGS EXTRA HEAVY REC. 10.99 4 99 YD. 326 Clematis Downtown West Palm Beach - 7519 gree burns and I dropped it on the floor.. 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DON'T MISS THIS FANTASTIC SALE . . . SOME ARE PART ROLLS SOME ARE FULL ROLLS SOME ARE IN IMPERFECTS SOME ARE 1st QUALITY HERCULON TWEEDS Reg. $5.99. 2 99 ACRILAN TWEEDS WAS $8.95 N0W49y?. COMMERCIAL TWEEDS 1 RED, BLACK, I AVOCADO, GOLDS,'. ; BLUE GREEN 1 A OR RUST 00 YD. NYLON PLUSHES Powder Blue Pink and lavender Reg. $6.95 NOW 3 95 yd. Sculptured and Tip Sheared HERCULON 1 mil 1 7 J ALL ARE EXCELLENT VALUES INDOOR-OUTDOOR HEAT TWIST EC 7.M NOW 3 99 1. REC. 7.95 NOW 'Jii 9x12 7 RUGS BEG. 36.00 J-OWI99SL 1 1 SHOP AT HOHEiSSSsESS' RIVIERA BEACH LAKE WORTH 842-5252 " 585-7519 SCULPTURED 100 CONT. FUEL ESTIMATE FILAMENT (12 colors) ON NYLON tic. Q99 J WALL TO WALL (DUPONT) 4.M O yd CARPETING in the blood. As far back as 1936, Kendall and Hench had discussed the use of. one of the adrenal products. Compound E in the treatment of . arthritis. But Kendall and his associates had to work day and night in shifts, to crystallize less than one hundredth of an ounce from half a ton of beef adrenal glands. After Compound A had been a failure, Merck and Company was somewhat reluctant to support work with Compound E. But in 1946, a young Princeton graduate, Lewis Sa-rett, was assigned to try and ' manufacture Compound E in .the laboratory. . . . ' He managed to make a few crystals about the size of the ashes on the end of a cigarette but he had to use the bile of 2,500 cattle to do it. When Merck gave samples of Compound E to 28 institutions for testing to see if it had any therapeutic effects, the results were discouraging. But back at the Mayo Clinic, Hench couldn't get the idea out of his head that the medi-' cation for arthritis was a hormone. He and Kendall decided that Compound E should be tried. They wrote a letter to Merck asking for a sample. All that was left of the experimental substance was 10 grams, but Merck sent it off , .to Rochester, and the result is history. Hench and Kendall shared the Nobel Prize for their work with cortisone in 1950. Hench died in 1965. The first patient, Mrs. G., died of unrelated causes 10 years after she received the first injection of cortisone. But Kendall and Sa-rett are both actively working in New Jersey. I decided to track them down on the 20th anniversary of cortisone therapy. "Could you tell me where Dr. Kendall's office is?" I asked a young scientist who was working with glass tubing in a laboratory at Princeton University. "Is he in- the chemistry building?" he asked, puzzled. "I should think ht would CONTINUOUS FILAMENT NYLON REC. 3.95 in nous 1 SPECIAL SPACE DYED k NYLON TWEED A REC. 0W ( I 395 f 1 'HI Jm Jfm ..j 1 a HHflB SQ. I THEN CALL US AND SAVE 842-5252 ; mow ti OPEN SUN. ( 1 9 til 5 MON. & FRI. 9 TIL 9 TUES. WED. THURS. 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