Peptic ulcer disease

28 Feb 2014
Professor Robin Warren and Barry Marshall

Peptic ulcer disease has been a major medical problem in most countries of the  developed world. In Australia alone, one in ten people might expect to suffer  from ulcer disease over their lifetime. Ulcer medications could provide  temporary healing, but 80% of patients would suffer a relapse within a year of  stopping treatment. Thanks to the persistence of two Australian researchers,  this is no longer the case.

As has now been well documented, from 1985 to  1987, Perth based researchers Professor Robin Warren and Barry Marshall studied  the use of antibiotics as treatment for ulcer. Their finding that 80% of  patients were permanently cured of their ulcer if helicobacter pylori bacteria  were eradicated, proved a landmark development in clinical gastroenterology  practice. It resulted in a complete reassessment of ulcer treatment, and this  therapy is now accepted as an essential part of the management of ulcer disease.  It was possible to cure a disease previously considered intractable, and thus  spare countless people a lifetime of pain, distress and  inconvenience.