Episode Twenty | Helicobacter pylori | The No Acid No Ulcer Fallacy

Monday, 07 December 2020 | Dr Travis Brown

In 1983, Dr Robin Warren and Dr Barry Marshall embarked upon a study to investigate the significance of bacterial found in the stomachs of ulcer patients. This journey would take them over a decade to complete and was riddled with self-doubt, persistent scepticism, and challenging centuries of medical dogma but their persistence ultimately led to the highest accolade in Medicine. Oh, and a bout of bad breath.

Helicobacter pylori is a gram-negative bacteria that has evolved with humans. With an estimated worldwide prevalence of up to 50%, this organism has found a survival niche where it is perfectly suited to thrive in the stomach’s highly acidic environment. Unfortunately for those of us who have it, it will cause inflammation (gastritis) but can eventually lead to cancer (gastric adenocarcinoma).

Our interview is with Professor Barry Marshall who navigates the lows of persistent knockbacks through to the worldwide tour that lead to the Nobel Prize in 2005.

Professor Barry Marshall
Nobel Prize Laureate and Professor of Clinical Microbiology

The discovery by Dr Warren and Professor Marshall has benefited millions of people, maybe saving a million lives over the last 10 or 20 years.

Barry James Marshall AC FRACP FRS FAA is an Australian physician, Nobel Prize Laureate in Physiology or Medicine, and Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Western Australia. 

https://www.uwa.edu.au/profile/barry-marshall

Additional links of interest:

https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(05)67587-3/fulltext 

https://www.science.org.au/learning/general-audience/history/interviews-australian-scientists/professor-barry-marshall/teacher