Nobel Prize in Medicine 2009

Category : Editorial

Prof. Elizabeth H. Blackburn of the University of California, San Fransisco, Prof. Carol W. Greider, Professor at Johns Hopkins, Baltimore and Jack Szostak from the Harward School of Medicine are the new stars in the horizon of Bio-chemistry.

The discoveries of these scientists go to the root of aging mechanism, the protective mechanism of DNA which prevents the degradation and consequently understanding the mechanism of the formation of "caps" or protective structure which prevents degradation. The stopping of the production of these protective caps, the telomeres can be used to do the reverse in cancer cells which never seem to age. Prevention of the production of the enzyme, telomerase can in turn prevent the DNA that carry cancer to multiply and start degrading this DNA by the removal of the 'cap' telomeres. As this study is very fundamental, this is expected to help the prevention of many other diseases also.

These Nobel Laureates have already won many honours for their enzyme research. In 2006, these three scientists have shared the prestigious Lasker Prize for basic medical research. Incidentally the importance of pure research with no immediate target has been recognised. As Greider puts It, it is a recognition of work pursued with "pure curiosity".

We always feel that the many unconnected discoveries will ultimately fit into a general pattern if they are part of the universal truths. Those mosaics that do not fit in are the problems to be studied further in the search for the unity in science.


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