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Friday, 19 December 2014

Medical pioneer dies in Canada

A MEDICAL pioneer who developed treatments for schizophrenia and Parkinson's disease has died in Canada aged 78.

Dr Gerry Murphy, of Hudson Heights on the outskirts of Montreal, was born on Walney in 1933 and was educated at St Columba's, Barrow Grammar School and Sheffield University.

After gaining a BSc and a Masters degree in biochemistry, he started a new life in Montreal at the age of 24 with just $40 to his name.

He sold ties in a basement and got a discount rate in his lodgings for answering the switchboard.

He then got his break at the Memorial Institute Allan Laboratory at the Royal Victoria Hospital, Montreal – where he met his wife of more than 50 years, Pierrette.

He became associated with the McGill University research team in Montreal and was credited with developing a pioneering oral treatment for Parkinson's Disease in the early 1960s.

He also worked on the use of drugs for the treatment of schizophrenia and was held in high esteem by Canadian physicians he worked with.

His 30-year career also saw important work on anti-rejection drugs for organ transplants. His daughter Jennifer worked with him on the project.

He lived for many years at Green Bay, Nova Scotia, where he enjoyed fishing and writing poetry.

Dr Murphy made several return visits to Walney and used to accompany his brother Joe on walks across the mud flats to Piel Island.

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