Andrzej Wiktor Schally, also known as Andrew W. Schally,
was born on November 20, 1926, in Wilno, Poland.
War II, Schally had to leave Poland and live among
the Jewish-Polish Community in Romania.
In 1945, he moved via Italy
Andrew Schally had his formative education in Scotland
and England. In 1950, he joined the National Institute
of Medical Research (NIMR, MRC) Mill Hill in London,
England. In May 1952, he moved to Montreal,
Canada. He received
his doctorate in endocrinology from McGill University
in 1957. That same year he left for a research career
in the United States and worked at Baylor University
College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, until 1962. At
Baylor, Schally became Assistant Professor of Physiology
and a Senior Research Fellow of the U.S. Public Health
A Canadian citizen when he left Canada, Schally became
a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1962.
In June 1962, the Veterans Administration (VA), made
Schally the chief researcher on the hypothalamus. In
December 1962, he was appointed Chief of the Endocrine
and Polypeptide Laboratories at the VA Hospital in New
Orleans and Associate Professor of Medicine at Tulane
University. In 1966, he was made a full professor.
He developed a whole new realm of knowledge concerning
the brain’s control over body chemistry. His works
were also concentrated on birth control methods and
growth hormones. He, as well as Roger Guillemin, described
the neurohormone GnRH that controls FSH and LH. He was
awarded an honorary Doctoral Degree from Jagiellonian
University at Kraków.
In 1977, Andrew Schally was awarded the Nobel
Prize for Medicine, along with Rosalyn
Yalow and Roger Guillemin, for their discoveries
concerning "the peptide hormone production of the
The following press release from the Royal Swedish
Academy of Sciences describes Schally' work:
“The discoveries of Roger Guillemin
and Andrew Schally deal with another sector
of peptide hormone physiology and medicine.
The pituitary gland secretes a number of hormones
which are transported with the blood to most hormone
producing glands in the body. In these, they stimulate
their specific function - to produce and release hormones.
It has long been known that the central nervous system
in some way could modulate endocrine functions and that,
probably, the brain stem - the hypothalamus - acted
as an intermediary in this process. In some way, information
was passed to the hypophysis which, by way of its specific
hormones, transferred the information to the other endocrine
glands. As early as 1930, it was discovered that small
blood vessels connected the hypophysis with the hypothalamus,
and that these might be the route of transport of the
information from the brain to the hypophysis.
Towards the end of the 1950's, Guillemin
and Schally, each in his own laboratory,
were able to extract from the hypothalamus
of sheep and pigs some compounds which,
when administered to pituitary tissue,
brought about release of its hormones.
One extract made the pituitary release
ACTH, another TSH (Thyroid Stimulating
Hormone), a third one LH and FSH (the gonadotrophic
hormones) etc. They termed these substances "releasing factors
or hormones", RF or RH. The one inducing
the release of TSH, thus was called TSH-RF
However, it was not until 1969 that the nature of
these hypothalamic factors would be established. Guillemin
was working with 5 million hypothalamic fragments from
sheep, and Schally with the same amount of material
but from pigs. They concentrated their efforts to the
search for one of the releasing factors, TRF. After
years of struggle, during which the two groups established
a formidable race, they stood there one day with 1 mg
(!) of a pure substance with one single mode of action:
it released TSH from the hypophysis. This was TRF. After
another few months the structure of TRF was established.
It is an extremely small peptide composed of three amino
acids in a special fashion:
Within the same year TRF was synthesized by the Guillemin
The ice was broken. Within two years LH-RH was isolated,
sequenced and synthesized, firstly by Schally and shortly
afterwards by Guillemin.
Guillemin's and Schally's discoveries laid the foundations
to modern hypothalamic research. The experiences from
animal research was rapidly transferred to humans and
brought into clinical work. Several new peptides were
isolated from the hypothalamus, the foremost one probably
being the first inhibitor of pituitary function: somatostatin,
which decreases the production of pituitary growth hormone.
As an extension of Guillemin's and Schally's discoveries
may be regarded the exciting finding of peptides in
the brain with morphine-like activity, the endorphines.
Peptides with hormone-like activity have also been identified
in other parts of the brain. The central nervous system
more and more moves forward as an endocrine organ, which
opens fascinating perspectives in medicine. We are looking
forward to an enormous development in this field, to
which Guillemin and Schally opened the door.
The important discoveries by the 1977
Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine
has led to a formidable development of
their own fields of research. Further,
they have opened new vistas within biological
and medical research far outside the borders
of their own spheres of interest.”
Prize Autobiography, Wikipedia