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2011 marks the 50th anniversary of the discovery of ibuprofen. This article is a focus on the personal reflections and career of Dr Stewart Adams OBE, the scientist whose research lead to the discovery of the cyclooxygenase inhibitor. When Dr Adams discovered ibuprofen, he was working as a pharmacologist in the Research Department for the Boots Pure Drug Company Ltd. Dr Adams was assigned to work on rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and chose in 1953 to search for a drug that would be effective in RA but would not be a corticosteroid. He was one of the first workers in this field that later became known as NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti Inflammatory Drugs). In 1961, Dr Adams with John Nicholson, the organic chemist, filed a patent for the compound 2-(4-isobutylphenyl) propionic acid, later to become one of the most successful NSAIDs in the modern world, ibuprofen. In this article, Dr Adams gives his modest insight into the early stages and initial observations which led to this world-wide success.
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