Birth of Beta Blockers

Today

is the birthday of Sir James Black, a British pharmacologist who revolutionized the treatment of heart ailments and ulcers with his discovery of two important drugs.

In an attempt to find a drug that would relieve angina chest pain, Black discovered propranolol, which targets the heart's beta receptors, preventing hormones like adrenalin from stimulating them and increasing heart rate and oxygen demand. Others followed up on the discovery with a wealth of new beta-blocking agents for treating heart attacks, hypertension, and migraines. Black also discovered cimetidine b, a compound that soothes stomach ulcers by blocking receptors that stimulate gastric acid secretion.

Black was knighted in 1981 and received a share of the 1988 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his drug discoveries.

[Source: Britannica Online]

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