National / Science & Health

Japanese professor among 2017 Gairdner medical prize laureates


Japanese professor Akira Endo will be one of this year’s Canada Gairdner Award laureates for his discovery of statins, an achievement that led to the development of cholesterol-lowering medicines, the award’s foundation said Tuesday.

Endo, 83, a distinguished professor emeritus at Tokyo University of Agriculture and Technology, discovered statins when he was working as a researcher for pharmaceutical-maker Sankyo Co., the predecessor of Daiichi Sankyo Co.

His discovery and development of statins “have transformed the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease,” the foundation said in a statement.

Previous Japanese winners of the Gairdner prize, awarded for medical discoveries, include 54-year-old Kyoto University professor Shinya Yamanaka, who developed iPS cells, and Satoshi Omura, the 81-year-old Kitasato University professor emeritus who discovered and helped develop therapies to fight tropical infections.

Both also won the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

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