The discovery of the therapeutic use of D-penicillamine.

  • John M. Walshe
  • Published 1981 in The Journal of rheumatology. Supplement


An account is given of the identification of penicillamine in human urine by chromatographic and analytical techniques. At that time this observation appeared to be of esoteric interest only. Some years later, working at the Thorndike Memorial Laboratory at the Boston City Hospital, it occurred to me that the formula of this compound was ideally suited for use as a copper chelating agent for the treatment of Wilson's disease. The subsequent work leading to the acceptance of penicillamine as an important new therapy and also as to its mode of action is given with illustrations of some key experiments and with reference to the first patient ever treated with this drug.

Cite this paper

@article{Walshe1981TheDO, title={The discovery of the therapeutic use of D-penicillamine.}, author={John M. Walshe}, journal={The Journal of rheumatology. Supplement}, year={1981}, volume={7}, pages={3-8} }