Warren Zapol, chief of anesthesia at Massachusetts General Hospital, and Claes Frostell, head of anesthesia and intensive care at Danderyd Hospital of the Karolinska Institute, were honored as 2003 Inventors of the Year on Wednesday by the Intellectual Property Owners Association (IPO).

Zapol and Frostell received the award at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., Wednesday for their system that safely delivers inhaled nitric oxide (NO) gas for the treatment of lung conditions such as pulmonary hypertension. NO was considered to be merely a dangerous pollutant until the mid 1980s when researchers discovered its role as a messenger molecule in vasodilation, useful in reducing blood pressure. While NO administered intravenously was found to reduce blood pressure throughout the body, when inhaled the effect could be restricted to the lungs.

Zapol and Frostell began working on a system in which NO is mixed first with nitrogen to prevent...

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