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A gift from nature: the birth of the statins

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Figure 1: Micrograph of Penicillium citrinum Pen-51, the fungus that produces compactin.
Figure 2: A comparison of the structures of four statins and mevalonate.
Figure 3: Akira Yamamoto's homozygous patient with familial hypercholesterolemia who first received compactin in 1978.

Akira Yamamoto


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There are too many friends and colleagues who have contributed to this work over the years to name them individually, but special thanks must go to M. Kuroda for his key role in searching for HMG-CoA reductase inhibitors, to N. Kitano for collaborating in evaluating compactin in hens, dogs and monkeys, and to A. Yamamoto, who first gave compactin to a patient with severe hypercholesterolemia. I am greatly indebted to J. Goldstein and M. Brown, whose friendship and expertise have proved so valuable during my career. And finally, I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Lasker Foundation for the honor of being distinguished with such a prestigious award, which I share with all the members of my laboratories at both Sankyo and Tokyo Noko University.

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Endo, A. A gift from nature: the birth of the statins. Nat Med 14, 1050–1052 (2008).

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