Recently, Nobel Prizes were awarded to many well deserving scientists, whose research has made incredible contributions to the fields of physiology, medicine, and chemistry. Their contributions have major implications in treating debilitating diseases, improving global health, and understanding microbiological mechanisms that can cause cancer.
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded jointly to biologist William C. Campbell and microbiologist Satoshi Omura as well as Chinese medical scientist Youyou Tu. Both recipients made major discoveries of new therapies for parasitic diseases, which afflict millions of individuals globally, particularly those in poor, developing countries. Campbell and Omuri discovered a new drug, Avermectin, which can be utilized to treat River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis, both of which are diseases caused by parasitic worms that spread through insect vectors. Scientist Tu found a novel drug, Artemisinin, which helped reduce the mortality rates for malaria, a deadly disease that spreads parasitic protozoans through mosquitoes.
The Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded jointly to scientists Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich, and Aziz Sancar for their studies of DNA repair mechanisms. Specifically, their research focused on how cells repair damaged DNA and protect genetic information. Lindahl, a British cancer research scientist, discovered the mechanism of base excision repair, which repairs DNA throughout the entire cell cycle. Modrich, a biochemist and professor at Duke University, made the discovery of mismatch repair, which corrects errors formed during DNA replication. Biochemist Sancar was responsible for mapping nucleotide excision repair, which cells use to repair DNA that was damaged by mutagens such as UV radiation, as seen in skin cancer. Collectively, the work of these scientists has major ramifications in the causes and pathogenesis of various forms of cancer.
Overall, the research of these Nobel Prize recipients have allowed for the discovery of novel treatments for prevalent diseases and has led to a stronger scientific understanding of the causes of disease. Their work has had a significant and positive effect on not only the scientific community, but on our greater society and world. It is through dedicated scientists such as these recipients that major progress in the fields of health and science are made.
Nobel Media AB 2014 “The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 – Press Release”. (2015) Nobelprize.org. Retrived from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/chemistry/laureates/2015/press.html>
Nobel Media AB 2014 “The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015”. (2105) Nobelprize.org. Retrieved from http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/medicine/laureates/2015/>