Birth in 1921 of Rosalyn Yalow, who was awarded the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for her description of the radioimmunological assay (RIA) technique and her insights into peptide hormones such as insulin and the diseases resulting from their improper regulation.
Rosalyn Yalow was born on July 19, 1921 in New York City and have always resided and worked there except for 3 1/2 years when she was a graduate student at the University of Illinois.
Together with her late coworker, Solomon Berson, she was able to pull down this barrier to development – and this was accomplished in a most unexpected way. Yalow and Berson, towards the middle 1950′s made the surprising finding that people who had received injections of the polypeptide hormone insulin – be it for diabetes or for treatment of schizophrenia – had developed antibodies against the hormone. This conflicted with the prevailing concept which was that such a small protein as insulin could not be antigenic. It took considerable time before this was accepted. In addition, some other findings were made that would become crucial to this whole field of research: the insulin antibodies formed a soluble complex with added insulin labeled with radioactive iodine and, furthermore, when non-labeled insulin was added to this mixture it could displace the labeled insulin bound to the antibody. This may be expressed in another way: the percentage binding of labeled insulin to the antibodies is a function of the total insulin concentration in the solution. This was to become the starting-point for radioimmunological determination of insulin and, later, for all peptide hormones in blood, other fluids and tissues.
Visit the official web site of the Nobel Foundation to read more about Rosalyn Yalow.
Excerpted with permission, www.nobelprize.org