2017 Lucian Award
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The 2017 Louis and Artur Lucian award for research in circulatory disease, established by a bequest to McGill University in 1965, has been awarded to John J.J.V. McMurray, MD, of the University of Glasgow. McMurray has dedicated much of his career to heart failure, with more than 900 publications ranging from basic research and epidemiology to the design and completion of numerous clinical trials that have altered our understanding of the condition and its treatment and prognosis.
“He’s done a tremendous amount that is clinically relevant and has resulted in new medications for heart failure. He was head and shoulders above the other applicants this year, with an incredible track record and extensive publications,” says James Martin, MD, chair of the McGill University department of medicine and chair of the Lucian Committee.
As McMurray was completing medical school, American and European investigators were beginning to understand the disease mechanisms of heart failure and to identify targets for treatment other than digoxin and diuretics. At that time, there was no way to directly influence the weakness in cardiac contraction underlying heart failure, but inappropriate and sustained activation of the renin–angiotensin–aldosterone system (RAAS) helped explain why the function of blood vessels, kidneys, and heart muscle deteriorated over time. Shortly after the introduction of the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor captopril, McMurray witnessed the Lazarus-like recovery and discharge from the hospital of an extremely ill woman with heart failure after she was given the new drug—spurring a career-long interest in heart failure.
After 2 years of residency training, McMurray obtained a cardiovascular research fellowship in Dundee, Scotland, where physician scientist Allan Struthers was studying cardiac natriuretic peptides, newly described hormones produced by the heart, which helped that organ protect itself and the whole body from volume and pressure overload by, among other things, …