Nobel Prize 2010, Physiology and Medicine Winner: Robert Edwards
Nobel Prize 2010: Physiology and Medicine Award Goes To Robert Edwards For Work In-vitro Fertilization Work, (video)
Robert G. Edwards a former University of Cambridge professor has won the Nobel Prize in Physiology and Medicine for his pioneering work in in-vitro fertilization dating back to the late 1970s.
Now, 85, and in ailing health, Robert Edwards along with the late Dr. Patrick Steptoe developed the process and technology that enabled the removal of mature eggs from a woman's ovaries, fertilizing and dividing those eggs in test tubes and reintroducing them to the mother.
In a statement released by Bourn Hall, the Cambridge IVF clinic founded by Edwards and Steptoe, Ruth Edwards said, "The family are thrilled and delighted that Professor Edwards has been awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for the development of IVF. The success of this research has touched the lives of millions of people worldwide, and his dedication and single-minded determination despite opposition from many quarters has led to successful application of his pioneering research."
Now a fairly common medical procedure in-vitro fertilization was highly controversial ( and some continues to be controversial) procedure so Robert Edwards and Dr. Steptoe were faced scientific as well as societal challenges.
Edwards and Steptoe, working in the face of opposition from church and government, created a procedure that led to the birth of the first test tube baby, Louise Brown, in 1978. Since then more than 4 million IVF babies have been born worldwide, and a multibillion-dollar market for infertility treatments has arisen.
Brown’s birth “was a paradigm shift and showed for the first time that it was possible to treat infertility,” Christer Hoog, a professor in molecular cell biology at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute, said at the Nobel news conference. “That single event is the most important part of Edwards’s achievement.”
Dr. Patrick Steptoe could not be honored by the Nobel Prize committee because on living people can receive a Nobel Prize.