Nobel Prize in Medicine goes to U.S. scientists for their discoveries of temperature and touch receptors

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American scientists David Julius and Ardem Patpoutian won the 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery of receptors for temperature and touch, which could pave the way for new pain-relieving drugs, the prize-giving body said on Monday.

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The Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinka Institute said, “Their findings have allowed us to understand how heat, cold and mechanical forces can initiate nerve impulses that allow us to understand and adapt to the world around us.” allow.”

“This knowledge is being used to treat a wide variety of diseases, including chronic pain.” His breakthrough discoveries had triggered intense research activities, which led to “a rapid increase in our understanding of how our nervous system senses heat, cold, and mechanical stimuli,” it said.

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Both this year’s awardees have previously been recognized for their discoveries. In 2017, Dr Julius was named the winner of Canada’s prestigious Gairdner International Award.

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The more than a century old prize is awarded by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and is worth 10 million Swedish crowns ($1.15 million).

The prestigious awards for achievements in the fields of science, literature and peace were created and funded in the bequest of Swedish dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel. He has been awarded since 1901, the first in 1969 the Economics Prize was given.

The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, shared this year by the two laureates, often rests in the shadow of the Nobel for Literature and Peace, and their sometimes more widely known recipient.

But the drug has been thrust into the limelight by the COVID-19 pandemic, and some scientists suggested that those who developed vaccines for the coronavirus could be rewarded this year or in the years to come.

The pandemic continues at Nobel celebrations, which are usually filled with old-world pomp and glamor. The banquet in Stockholm has been postponed for the second year in a row amid concerns about the virus and international travel.

Last year’s award was given to Americans Harvey Alter and Charles Rice and Britain’s Michael Houghton for their identification of the hepatitis C virus, which causes cirrhosis and liver cancer.

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Patapoutian, who was born in Lebanon in 1967 to Armenian parents and moved to Los Angeles in his youth, is a professor at Scripps Research, La Jolla, California, having previously conducted research at the University of California, San Francisco and the California Institute of California. did. Technology, Pasadena.

New York-born Julius, 65, is a professor at the University of California, San Francisco, having previously worked at Columbia University in New York.

With a file by Ivan Semenyuk

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