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Medicine China Japan

3 Scientists Share Nobel For Parastic Disease Breakthroughs 36

The Australian reports that a trio of scientists (hailing from from Japan, China, and Ireland) has been awarded this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine for their work in treating parasitic diseases. Irish scientist William Campbell (currently research fellow emeritus at New Jersey's Drew University), and Japanese biochemist Satoshi Omura, were awarded half of the monetary award for their work in defeating roundworm infections; the drug they developed as a result, Avermectin, has helped drastically lower two devastating diseases -- river blindness and lymphatic filariasis -- and has shown promise in treating other ailments as well. The other half of the prize has been awarded to Chinese researcher Youyou Tu, who discovered a novel antimalarial drug based on her research into traditional herbal medicines. (Also at The Washington Post, CNN, The New York Times, and elsewhere. The awards were live-blogged by The Guardian.)
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3 Scientists Share Nobel For Parastic Disease Breakthroughs

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  • Most annoying typos in article titles
  • How about a link to an article that does require cookies enabled to view? Maybe you don't mind but I do and I don't really need to allow some random news site to set a cookie for no reason. Provide no value to me whatsoever.

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      You might appreciate the press release [nobelprize.org] directly from the Nobel Prize committee. Unlike other press releases, it actually goes into detail, and gives good background on the topic of the prize. (Though I don't know if the nobelprize.org domain sets cookies or not - I don't think they *require* them, though.)

  • Queue the comments from idiots who think a drug derived from old herbal remedies is the same thing as using old herbal remedies...

    • Queue the comments from idiots who think a drug derived from old herbal remedies is the same thing as using old herbal remedies...

      "The fact that this researcher won a Nobel for isolating an effective drug from old herbal remedies is proof that old herbal remedies are completely useless!"

      The first known medical description of Qinghao lies in a 2000-year-old document called "52 Prescriptions" (168 BCE) that had been unearthed from a Mawangdui Han Dynasty tomb. It details the herb's use for soothing hemorrhoid

      • by the gnat ( 153162 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @10:26AM (#50661157)

        So basically, she found a 2000 year-old book that says the plant heals malaria, extracted the malaria-healing part and got a Nobel for discovering a malaria drug.

        Well, it wasn't a malaria drug before she did the actual science necessary to prove that a 2000-year-old book wasn't simply full of shit, and the end result was many lives saved. I certainly don't begrudge her the Nobel, even though it means we'll spend the next few decades listening to the CCP and alternative medicine practitioners crowing about it. (I can't decide which is worse.)

        • The guy who discovered penicillen (and got the prize) ran a few tests, decided it wouldn't work in a human, and shelved it.

          20 years later another guy unshelved it, got it working in humans, and under mass production for WWII. He got his own belated Nobel decades later.

        • Well, it wasn't a malaria drug before she did the actual science necessary to prove that a 2000-year-old book wasn't simply full of shit

          I'll bet the physicians who used the plant and the people who were cured by the plant 2000 years ago had a little proof themselves.

          Hypothesis, experimentation and publishing results were not invented by Roger Bacon. Human beings didn't suddenly become smart in the 13th century.

          • Well, while your point is well taken, the 2000 year old texts are also chock full of dross (for want of a better word), while current medical texts are much, much better in that respect. (Not perfect, not nearly, but much better).

            So, clearly there has been an advancement in and with the scientific process. The main problem before that being that its surprisingly easy to fool yourself, and people often did. It still surprisingly easy to fool yourself, scientists do it all the time, but by disciplining our su

      • It is not at all uncommon for one leaf to have a hundred times higher concentration of the active ingredient than another leaf from another plant, picked at a different time. So to get 10mg of medicine, you might need one leaf, or you might need 100 - and there is no simple way of knowing.

        At the same time, individual "doses" of the raw plant might vary just as much in the concentration of a bad substance which causes significant side effects. Ten leaves might be dangerous, or maybe 100 leaves. You don'

  • The Nobel Prize (and associated recognition) is as important today as ever, given the profitability limitations on the study of many new drugs and treatments by many of the large companies involved in research and development.

    Prize recipients from three nations! Cudos.

    • by gerddie ( 173963 )
      Actually, these big awards are not that important, especially in medical sciences. In fact, one might even say that hey are counter productive [nytimes.com]:

      All scholarship is, to some extent, built on prior work — but this is especially true in scientific research. Consider James P. Allison, the winner of this year’s Lasker-DeBakey prize in clinical medical research. His work helped clarify one way cancer cells hide from the immune system. [...] Dr. Allison’s work is surely impressive. But [...]it relied on work conducted by 7,000 scientists at 5,700 institutions over a hundred-year period. Yet only he was recognized.

      and

      The prize industry contributes to a deeper problem in scientific research: We throw resources at a privileged few who have already achieved enormous fame.

      Instead

      [...] we could break up big prizes and give out many smaller awards. This may be more effective in supporting science [...]

      • by Kjella ( 173770 )

        The Nobel prize is 8.000.000 SEK this year or ~960.000 USD. Divided by three that's $320k each. That you are very likely to only get once for a career in research stretching over decades. I suppose you could say it's a whole lot more than nothing, but if you wanted to make money you should have become a NFL quarterback or something.

        • The Nobel prize is 8.000.000 SEK this year or ~960.000 USD. Divided by three that's $320k each. That you are very likely to only get once for a career in research stretching over decades. I suppose you could say it's a whole lot more than nothing, but if you wanted to make money you should have become a NFL quarterback or something.

          Of course, but to be fair, most of us here wrestle daily with the regret we have over opting out of that quarterback gig.

          • Of course, but to be fair, most of us here wrestle daily with the regret we have over opting out of that quarterback gig.

            Mod parent up, funniest thing I've read on slashdot in ages.

  • by Alomex ( 148003 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @08:40AM (#50660609) Homepage

    How do we know they won it because of those discoveries and not something else? after all correlation does not imply causation, and frankly the fact that it is explicitly mentioned in the citation for the prize is just anecdotal evidence not data.

    • Yes, that's true, more and more these days awards are given for political purposes. It's sad because it ruins the original ability of the awards to inspire, but that's where we are these days.
      • Yes, that's true, more and more these days awards are given for political purposes.

        Translation: "I NEVER WIN AWARDS!"

    • the fact that it is explicitly mentioned in the citation for the prize is just anecdotal evidence not data

      I can't tell, is this a parody troll or not? Here is the exact citation, from the source [nobelprize.org]:

      The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015 was divided, one half jointly to William C. Campbell and Satoshi mura "for their discoveries concerning a novel therapy against infections caused by roundworm parasites" and the other half to Youyou Tu "for her discoveries concerning a novel therapy against Malaria"

      How

  • Parasites (Score:4, Funny)

    by king neckbeard ( 1801738 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @10:50AM (#50661319)
    Only one scientist did the work. The other two just leeched off of him to take credit.
  • The biggest break through in the treatment of parasites comes when there is only one manufacturer left in the world for a generic drug that is some 60 odd years old. I takes a particularly sharp eyed man to see the opportunity, buy the company and jack up the price by 7500%. That is a break through.

    Slogging your balls off working in a lab for three decades and hoping there is a chance some foreign committee in Sweden would see your work and throw you a bone 7500% smaller than the new price for the generic

    • "The biggest break through in the treatment of parasites comes when there is only one manufacturer left in the world for a generic drug that is some 60 odd years old. I takes a particularly sharp eyed man to see the opportunity, buy the company and jack up the price by 7500%."

      No, that would be the biggest breakthrough in parasites

  • by peter303 ( 12292 ) on Monday October 05, 2015 @01:59PM (#50663139)
    I thought I read a blurb in the paper about this. Chinese-born people have won science prizes after emigrating. And Chinese citizens have won literature and peace prizes. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/... [wikipedia.org] China certainly spends a bundle on R&D these days, perhaps second in world now.
  • I didn't know you could get a Nobel prize for studying politicians, advertisers, and lawyers. I wonder if they found a cure.

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