Reaction to Bob Edwards winning the Nobel Prize for Medicine

In reaction to the news that Robert Edwards has been awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize for Medicine for his work pioneering in vitro fertilisation, Prof Martin Johnson, Professor of Reproductive Sciences at the University of Cambridge, said:

“As one of Bob’s first research students, I’m naturally delighted that Bob Edwards has been awarded the Nobel Prize. Better late than never!

“Bob is delighted, as are all his friends, family, and work colleagues at the journal office of Reproductive BioMedicine Online. The Nobel Prize is the last major award, following on from the Lasker Prize that he won about ten years ago, that enables Bob to achieve his proper recognition.

“It is truly wonderful that such an engaging, warm and generous person, as well as a visionary in science, can be acknowledged in this way for all his many achievements. He was a man much ahead of his time not just in IVF, but in preimplantation genetic diagnosis, the derivation of embryonic stem cells and also for his publications and lectures on ethics in science and the role of regulation – where again he was way ahead of others, because Bob has always been a very moral man, a morality based on his humanist views and his faith in humanity.

“His achievements are not just over four million babies worldwide born through assisted reproductive technology, but also the way that he transformed the whole approach to research and care in reproductive medicine and gynaecology.

“He is very sad that his colleagues Patrick Steptoe and Jean Purdy aren’t alive to share this prize with him.”

Prof Johnson wrote a paper published in the August issue of Human Reproduction journal that investigated the reasons behind the UK Medical Research Council’s decision not to fund the work of Patrick Steptoe and Robert Edwards that led to the birth of the world’s first test tube baby, Louise Brown.