|Press Statement from NIH Director Elias A. Zerhouni, M.D.
NIH Grantees Win 2004 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
for Study of Protein Degradation Pathway
The 2004 Nobel Prize in chemistry is shared by two long-time NIH
grantees, Irwin Rose, Ph.D., and Avram Hershko, M.D., Ph.D.
This is a classic example of how basic research on the chemical
mechanism underlying a biological process reveals a pathway essential
to life. Understanding how cells maintain internal balance by regulating
protein degradation is crucial for knowing how this balance is disrupted
in disease. This fundamental research points the way to developing
drugs that target the pathway, such as Velcade, which is used to
treat the blood cancer multiple myeloma.
NIH is proud that its sustained support of this research led to
the findings honored in today's Nobel Prize. The NIH components
that funded the prize-winning scientists are the National Institute
of General Medical Sciences; the former National Institute of Arthritis,
Diabetes, and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Institute
of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; and the National
Cancer Institute. Rose first received support from NIH in 1956 and
Hershko has been a grantee since 1980. Over the years, NIH has provided
$7.5 million to support the two scientists' research.
Since 1954, NIH has supported the work of 34 Nobel laureates in
The NIH comprises the Office of the Director and 27 Institutes
and Centers. The Office of the Director is the central office at
NIH, and is responsible for setting policy for NIH and for planning,
managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all the
NIH components. The NIH is a component of the U.S. Department of
Health and Human Services.
Related announcement: 2004
Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine