Monday, 6 October 2008

And this year's Nobel in Medicine/Physiology goes to...

...three folks for two different discoveries!

Half the prize was awarded to Harald zur Hausen for his work on the HPV virus; more specifically, for his discovery that types of HPV can cause cervical cancer. His work has, obviously, lead to the new HPV vaccine that is causing an uproar in Christian schools as of late.

The other half of the prize was given to Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier for their discovery of HIV. This discovery is possibly the single most important discovery in medicine/virology and it's good to see that it was finally deemed Nobel-worthy; many people have wondered in the past why the prize had not been awarded to them in the 20+ years since their discovery.

I (and many others) had bet on Elizabeth Blackburn for this prize (she was a co-discoverer of telomerase), but she might still get it for the chemistry prize - there are (quite probably unfounded) rumors that the chemistry prize will focus on biochemistry this year. We'll find out for sure on Wednesday.

Keep your eyes peeled, for the Physics prize is announced tomorrow!


Anonymous said...

The developments in telomerase biology have grown at an amazing rate since its discovery. I think the Nobel folks are waiting for actual approved treatments for disease and aging based on telomerase and then you will see its discoverers get the Nobel.

Robert Smith

C.W.G.K said...


You have a point. Part of the considerations given to Nobel nominees (as far as I know) is whether their discoveries have been fecund and resulted in practical applications (especially in regards to the Medicine/Physiology prize). So far, work on telomerase hasn't lead to approved treatments for disease or aging. Hopefully, though, such things aren't far off, because I think Blackburn's work is deserving of the Nobel.