In recognition of their very important discovery, they were Awarded the 2005 Nobel Prize for Medicine & Physiology.
H. pylori is a cork-screw shaped Gram-negative bacterium which is found to be present in the stomach-lining of ~3 billion people around the world (i.e. half the world’s population) and is the most common bacterial infection of man. Many of those carrying the bacterium have little or no symptoms & are apparently well, but all without exception have inflammation of the stomach lining, a condition which is called “gastritis”. Gastritis is the underlying condition which eventually causes ulcers and other digestive complaints. If a person has had an H. pylori infection constantly for 20-30 years, it can lead to cancer of the stomach. This is the reason that the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) International Agency for Research into Cancer (IARC) has classified H. pylori as a ‘Class- I-Carcinogen’ i.e. in the same category as cigarette smoking is to cancer of the lung & respiratory tract.