From Rapa Nui to Rapamycin: The Inspiring Story of the Man Behind a Life Saving Wonder Drug

“I don’t care if the company makes even a cent out of it,” Surendra had said to Uma. “My work is done. A child has survived.”

The above painting is by Sir Roy Calne, a pioneer in organ transplantation. 

The moai statue to the left is Surendra Sehgal, a man who never set foot on Rapa Nui or Easter Island, the island shown in the painting.  The chemical structure is Rapamycin or Sirolimus, the miracle drug that he discovered.

What is the link between an Indian microbiologist, born in undivided Punjab in 1932; the world’s most remote inhabited island that lies 2,000 miles west of Central Chile; and an immunosuppressant drug that some studies suggest can increase human life span?

To find out, follow the inspiring story of the man who not only discovered Rapamycin, but used his own discovery to extend his life after a diagnosis of Stage 4 metastatic colon cancer.  He was given 6 months to live, but he would fight on for 5 more years.

Surendra Sehgal was a true Man of Culture.