These hormones still belong to the physiologist and to the clinical investigator as much as, if not more than, to the practicing physician. But as Professor Starling said many years ago, 'The physiology of today is the medicine of tomorrow'. — Philip Showalter Hench
At the Mayo Clinic he specialized in arthritic disease. In the course of his work he observed the favourable effects of jaundice on arthritic patients, causing a remission of pain. Other bodily changes, for example pregnancy, produced the same effect. These and other observations led him gradually to the conclusion that the pain-alleviating substance was a steroid.In the period 1930-1938, Dr. E. C. Kendall had isolated several steroids from the adrenal gland cortex. After several years of collaboration with Dr. Kendall, it was decided to try the effect of one of these substances, Compound E (later named cortisone), on arthritic patients. Delay in implementing this decision was caused by Dr. Hench's military service in World War II and by the costly and complicated isolation of the substance. In 1948-1949, cortisone was successfully tested on arthritic patients. Hench also treated patients with ACTH, a hormone produced by the pituitary gland which stimulates the adrenal gland.