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Goldstein, Joseph Leonard

blood cells brown disease

[gohld stiyn] (1940– ) US medical scientist: co-discoverer with M S Brown of the origin of one type of heart disease.

Goldstein graduated MD at the University of Texas in Dallas in 1966 and worked thereafter at the Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston and then at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, MD. At Boston he had become a close friend of Michael Stuart Brown (1941–), who also became an MD in 1966, and then worked in Boston and Bethesda. From 1972 both worked in the university medical school at Dallas and they jointly planned a study of familial hypercholesterolaemia (FH). Victims of this develop heart disease as children or below age 35, and Goldstein and Brown developed a full understanding of its nature within a year.

Cholesterol in the blood is always largely combined with a protein to form small droplets of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is normally absorbed by receptors on the surface of cells and so removed from the blood and employed in necessary biochemical processes within them. However, in victims of FH a genetic defect has caused the cells to lack these receptors and as a result the cholesterol in the blood remains at too high a level, and it initiates coronary artery disease; this path is responsible for about 5% of heart attacks in people under age 60.

Goldstein and Brown’s work led to a new approach to the interactions between blood and cells, and to their own further studies on the fate of LDL in cells and on new methods for managing FH patients. Their work forms a striking example of the value of close collaboration between complementary personalities and of techniques linking biochemistry, genetics and clinical medicine. In 1985 they shared the Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine.

Goldsworthy, Andy - Artist, Career, Sidelights, Solo exhibitions [next] [back] Goldschmidt, Victor Moritz

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