From Fleming to Endo: The discovery of statins

Adrian Chester, Ahmed El Guindy


Statins are now one of the most prescribed drugs in the world and have made a major impact to the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, thereby extending the lives of millions of people across the world. The scientist responsible for the discovery of the first statin, Professor Akira Endo, was recently honoured for his ‘exceptional contribution to cardiovascular medicine’ by award of the European Society of Cardiology Gold Medal in 2021. Inspired by the work of Sir Alexander Fleming as a young scientist, Professor Endo pursued a long research career focusing on fungal enzymes and their potential use in medicine; a journey that eventually led him to the discovery of statins.

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