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Obituary: Professor James Boyer Brown
Date:11/3/2009

2 he accepted an appointment as First Assistant in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Melbourne under Professor Lance Townsend. This was despite many attractive offers from the USA including one from Dr Gregory Pincus, the originator of the oral contraceptive pill. It was here that he showed his true genius and, in conjunction with his colleagues at the Royal Women's Hospital, he revolutionised the use of gonadotrophins for the safe induction of ovulation. He refined the his method for measuring urinary oestrogen making it effectively a routine test which could be performed in a few hours, thereby enabling these drugs to be used in a safe manner and all but eliminating the risk of high order multiple pregnancies which had been a feature of this treatment up until that time. This was the first time that this approach had been used and led to him developing the threshold theory of ovarian follicle stimulation which stands unchallenged today in reproductive medicine.

He further modified his rapid assay method to enable urinary oestrogen to be measured during pregnancy which was used to great effect by obstetricians as a test of placental function and fetal well-being during pregnancy.

During a sabbatical year in 1970, Brown gained a D.Sc. from the University of Edinburgh and delivered 63 lectures and demonstrations in Europe and the USA.

Notwithstanding the advent of radioimmunoassay, the laboratory continued to be world renowned for its urinary assays and attracted large contracts, principally from Harvard University for studying risk factors in breast cancer and from Family Health International for studying the return of fertility during breast feeding. The work with Harvard won the Prix Antoine Lacassagne from Paris as the most important contribution to the study of breast cancer for that year.

In 1971 he was given a Personal Chair in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecol
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SOURCE Ovulation Method Research and Reference Centre of Australia Ltd
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