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Wednesday, October 7, 2015
NIH Grantees Win 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry
The 2015 Nobel Prize in chemistry has been awarded to National Institutes of Health grantees Paul Modrich, Ph.D., of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the Duke University School of Medicine, Durham, N.C.; and Aziz Sancar, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C., for having mapped, at a molecular level, how cells repair damaged DNA and safeguard the genetic information. They share the award with Tomas Lindahl, Ph.D., of the Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, Hertfordshire, United Kingdom.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their work on DNA repair "has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions."
Thousands of spontaneous changes to a cell's genome occur on a daily basis while radiation, free radicals and carcinogenic substances can also damage DNA. To keep the information in the genetic instruction book from degrading, a range of molecular systems monitor and repair DNA, in processes that the three award-winning scientists all helped map out.
"This basic understanding about cell function has led to the discovery of the causes of genetic conditions associated with cancer, and is being used to develop new cancer treatments,” said NIH Director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D. "NIH is proud to have supported this work."
NIH’s National Institute of General Medical Sciences has supported the work of Dr. Sancar since 1982 and continuously supported the work of Dr. Modrich since 1972. Dr. Sancar’s work has also been supported by the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, while the National Cancer Institute has also supported the work of Dr. Modrich.
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