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Contributions of Biochemical Research to Progress in Medicine

Philip Handler, Ph.D.
JAMA. 1961;177(12):840-849. doi:10.1001/jama.1961.73040380005004a.
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ABSTRACT

ALTHOUGH I have long held as an article of faith that research in the most fundamental aspects of biochemistry has made substantial contributions to the practice of medicine and will do so in the future, it was not until preparing this talk that I was confronted with the necessity for an appraisal of the nature and extent of this contribution.

But how does one summarize an effort of this magnitude? A generation ago this would have been relatively simple. One might, with pride, have cited the isolation of insulin and its utilization in diabetes or the glucose tolerance test as a diagnostic index. But impressive as the list of such contributions may now be, the significance of biochemistry lies not so much in the specific concrete diagnostic or therapeutic measures to which biochemists may, justifiably, point with pride, as in the fact that biochemistry has become the very language

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