For studies of adrenal hormones, culminating in the first use of cortisone in severe rheumatoid arthritis and other severe inflammatory disorders.
After isolating thyroxine from the thyroid gland in 1914 and glutathione from yeast in 1939, Dr. Kendall turned his attention to the chemistry of the hormones of the adrenal glands. Since 1932, Dr. Kendall has achieved a rare measure of success in the isolation of active steroids from the adrenal cortex, including Compounds A, E, and F. The chemical isolation of these substances made it possible for Dr. Kendall and his collaborators, as well as investigators throughout the world, to study their physiological action. Dr. Kendall’s chemical studies have also aided immeasurably in the recent large-scale synthesis of Compounds A and E.
Dr. Philip Hench, a physician with a long and deep interest in rheumatic disorders, had on clinical grounds come to believe that an inadequate supply of certain adrenal steroids might constitute a fundamental disturbance in rheumatoid arthritis and allied disorders. In closest association with Dr. Kendall, Dr. Hench systematically tested the effects of various adrenal hormones as they became available for clinical trial. These studies culminated in the demonstration of the almost miraculous therapeutic effect of Compound E, now termed Cortisone, in the management of rheumatic disorders.