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Monday, March 12, 2018

The Nobel prize was given for the fight against parasites

The winners of the most prestigious scientific awards in the world – the Nobel prize – in the category “Medicine and physiology” in this year were three scientists: the American William Campbell, Japanese Satoshi Omura and Chinese Yu Tu. They were awarded for invention of new drugs against parasitic infections. Scientists and journalists in their forecasts bet on other candidates.


“They deserve our special gratitude, because parasitic infections still kill huge numbers of people all over the world”

On Monday in Stockholm started 114 at the Nobel week. Traditionally the first Nobel prize Committee named the winners of the award in the category “Medicine and physiology”. The award was given to scientists William Campbell, Satoshi Omura and Yu Tu and new treatments for parasitic infections, including malaria, reported on the official website of the award.

Campbell works at the drew University (Madison, USA), Omura at the University of Kitasato (Japan). The scientists were honored for discoveries that helped to cure diseases caused by round worms.

Campbell and Omura has developed a new drug – avermectin, derivatives of which have drastically reduced the incidence of diseases such as onchocerciasis (river blindness) and lymphatic filariasis. They have developed a tool used for effective treatment of several other diseases caused by parasites, notes TASS.

The third laureate – Professor from Beijing Chinese Yu Tu – worked for many years in pharmacology and traditional Chinese medicine. She was for several years headed a group that was able to complement the existing drugs for the treatment of malaria with another artemisinin. This medicine is recommended today by the world health organization to treat people stricken with malaria.

Open winners fundamentally changed treatment options of diseases caused by worms-parasites, which afflict millions of people. Their studies are characterized by the Nobel Committee as a “paradigm shift”, and “their global importance is invaluable,” said at a press conference, Professor, Karolinska Institute, responsible for the prize in medicine, Hans Forsberg.

According to him, Yu Tu and for many years studied the ancient homeopathic recipes to create new therapeutic methods for the treatment of malaria. During work she noticed Artemisia Annua. Scientists have developed a purification method that allowed to allocate its active component, artemisinin, which has become the most effective malaria treatment.

Tu Yu became the twelfth woman in history to be awarded the Nobel prize for medicine, said RIA “Novosti”.

Commenting on the award, member of the Expert Committee for medical research European office of the world health organization and the President of the society of specialists in evidence-based medicine Vasily Vlasov told the newspaper VIEW that the significant achievements in the field of antiparasitic therapy over the past half century was quite a bit.

“So a group of scientists who received the award for this important work, I can only congratulate. They deserve our special gratitude, because parasitic infections still kill huge numbers of people all over the world, – said Vlasov. – We, Russians, even not suffer from the malaria, but we must always remember that they are under constant threat of entry in the country of infection.

Vlasov reminded of the existence of the term “orphan disease”. “It’s not only diseases that are rare and are treated very, very expensive drugs. It is primarily a diseases that affect poor people and poor countries. And since they are not able to pay for medications, medications for them and not developed” – the expert has answered the question of why over the last 50 years have not been major breakthroughs in the field of antiparasitic therapy (with the exception of awarded scientists).

“With regard to malaria, the disease killed most people in history and still not completely defeated,” he added.

Moscow infectious disease physician Gennady Ivanov in conversation with the newspaper OPINION also noted that the representatives of the Nobel Committee awarded the scientists involved in extremely important for the mankind problem.

“The award could be given for other achievements. For example, I was rooting for our former compatriot Alexander Rudenskogo, who claimed the award for work on the immune system. But this time stopped for parasitic infections. It’s no worse and no better. It’s just another field. In this area awarded to American, Japanese, and Chinese was the best,” he said.


Traditionally, the Nobel Committee until the last moment says nothing, neither of the contenders for the award, nor about those who have nominated them. However, the science sections of various Newspapers and magazines before the presentation, be sure to do your bets.

Every year trying to predict who will win based on ranking of citations of researchers, the Swedish Agency for Tompson Reuters. This year in the list in the category “Medicine” were three open. Jeffrey Gordon (USA) predicted a reward for the demonstration of the link between microorganisms in the gut of man and his physiology, metabolism, nutrition and even mood, reports TASS.

Kazuyoshi Mori (Japan) and Peter Walter (USA) could get a prize for the study of reaction mechanism of living cells to the presence in its inner region, called the endoplasmic reticulum, proteins with the “wrong” three-dimensional structure. Excessive activation of this mechanism is associated with the development of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.

A graduate of Moscow state University (now Director of the American Ludwikowska of the center for immunotherapy of cancer) Alexander Rudensky (USA) and his colleagues Shimon Sakaguchi (Japan) and Ethan Shevach (USA) claimed the Nobel prize for the study of the immune system: they studied the work of regulatory T-cells that control the immune response of the body, as well as the protein Foxp3, which controls the operation of these cells.

Swedish experts believed that the chances of being the winner this year is also one of the pioneers of optogenetics, Karl Deisseroth (USA), researchers hepatitis With Charles rice, Harvey Walter (USA) and Michael Houghton (UK) and worked in the field of cancer immunotherapy James Allison and Michael Sadelain (USA).

In turn, the authoritative Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter called favorites two researchers working at the University of the Swedish city of Umea the French woman, Emmanuelle Charpentier and her colleagues from the USA Jennifer Doudna (University of Berkeley in California). They predicted a Nobel prize for the creation of a high-precision method targeted editing of genetic material, marks RIA “news”.

In short, the Swedish media predictions for the winners this time didn’t come true, which happens very often.

Interestingly, for the first time in many years the Nobel prize this year will be less than $ 1 million. The size of the monetary component of the prize this year, as in the previous two years, 8 million kroons. But due to the weakening of the Swedish Krona this amount for the first time since 2001 will be less than $ 1 million, namely 950 thousand

Winners of past years and other nominations

Add that on 6 October in the Swedish capital will be announced the names of laureates of the Nobel prize in physics, 7 October – in chemistry on 9 October in the Norwegian capital Oslo will name the peace Prize winner. The winner of the Prize for Economics in memory of Nobel, established the State Bank of Sweden in 1968, will be determined on Monday, October 12. The Swedish Academy, the Nobel Committee which decides on the award of the prize in literature, while the date was not announced, but according to tradition it occurs in one of the Thursdays of October.

By the way, October 1 was already named the winners of the alternative Nobel prize 2015 – international prize “For decent life”.

The ceremony of awarding the laureates of the Nobel prize will be held on 10 December, the day of the death of the founder of the Nobel prize – Swedish entrepreneur and inventor Alfred Nobel (1833-1896). Four of the five bequeathed prizes in physiology or medicine, physics, chemistry and literature, as well as in Economics, established in 1968 in memory of Nobel by the Swedish state Bank, will be awarded in Stockholm. Peace prize, according to the will of its founder, is awarded in Oslo and are always too December 10.

Since 1901, the Nobel prize in total awarded 567 times. Winners were 864 25 and human organizations. Of them in medicine – 207 scientists. This 38 people in this category received the award alone, 31 – together, 36 – three.


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