by Allanah Leahy – EM TV World News
Professor Emeritus Satoshi Omura from Japan’s Kitasato University took out this year’s Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine on Monday.
80-year-old Omura and Irish-born William Campbell were awarded for their work on treatments against parasitic infections, notably roundworm.
The news of Omura’s prize was received well in Africa, where parasitic infections are common. Many drugs Omura helped develop have benefitted many African regions rife with infections.
The third winner was 85-year-old Tu Youyou from China, for her work on developing effective herbal therapy that fights malaria.
Youyou began her research while studying ancient Chinese texts in a secret project ordered by Communist Revolutionary Mao Zedong during the Cultural Revolution.
Also picking up Nobel Prizes this week, were three scientists from Sweden, the United States and Turkey.
The scientists were awarded on Wednesday for their work on cell repair on damaged DNA, a significant step forward in cancer research.
Studies in DNA have transformed cancer research and treatment, with drugs now developed specifically towards molecular behaviour, which leads to tumour development.
The Nobel Prize winners, Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich and Aziz Sancar won the prize for “mechanistic studies of DNA repair”.
Lindahl showed how DNA decays, while finding a counteracting repair process. Modrich found a way to rectify cell division, and Sancar worked out how cells repair ultra-violet damage.
“We developed a method were we can detect a DNA repair at single, nuclear type level, single unit of the whole the whole genome and that differs from person to person and we believe that the information will be useful in treating persons according to their DNA composition,” Sancar told Reuters.