(WOMENSENEWS)–1991. Chemist Gertrude Elion receives the National Medal of Science, the United States’ highest scientific honor. She also becomes the first woman inducted into the National Inventors Hall of Fame.

Winner of the 1988 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Elion was the fifth woman to receive that award. She developed the first drugs effective against childhood leukemia, the first successful anti-viral medications and a drug that made possible the first kidney transplant.

Elion prized–more than the Nobel, she said–the letters she received from many patients whose lives she saved.

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