It all began in 1984 when the prestigious Noble Prize in Medicine was awarded for the revelation that the lowly drug Aspirin prevented the COX-2 enzyme from converting the biochemical arachidonic acid to pain-producing inflammatory end products.
In 1982, the Nobel Prize in Medicine was granted jointly to Sune Bergstrom, Bengt Samuelsson, and Sir John Vane, which, in essence, explained the mechanism for the analgesic effect of aspirin.
The Nobel Summary pointed out that prostaglandins and related substances constitute part of a new biological system formed from unsaturated fatty acids, primarily arachidonic acid. It further noted that the Nobel Laureates had made fundamental contributions to the elucidation of the significance of this new biological system in which aspirin was shown to block the synthesis of the prostaglandins.
“Thanks to this important discovery [of] the mode of action of aspirin, the most frequently used drug all over the world, was clarified. It also provided the prostaglandin researchers with a useful tool in their analyses of the role of these compounds in various biological processes”(1). Thus began a new chapter in the century-old saga of aspirin.