Obituaries

Sir John Vane

BMJ 2004; 329 doi: http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmj.329.7479.1406 (Published 09 December 2004) Cite this as: BMJ 2004;329:1406

Nobel prize winning pharmacologist who discovered how aspirin works

John Vane's contribution to society was the science underpinning the finding that a daily low dose of aspirin prevents heart attacks and strokes, saving millions of lives each year, and the development of angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors for the treatment of hypertension. He made huge advances to our knowledge of inflammation and in 1982 he won a Nobel prize for medicine or physiology for discovering how aspirin works—sharing it with Sune Bergström and Bengt Samuelsson of Sweden.

He was awarded a Lasker prize (often a precursor to a Nobel) in 1977, which he also shared with Bergström and Samuelsson. In 1984 the British government recognised his outstanding achievements and gave him a knighthood in the New Year honours.

John Vane was born in Tardebigg, Worcestershire. As a boy he blew up the kitchen with a chemistry set, so his father built a shed in the garden in which he could do his experiments. He read chemistry at Birmingham University, graduating at …

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