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Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan Wins Nobel Prize In Medicine For Study of Cell Recycling ( 15

Dave Knott writes from a report via The Guardian: The 2016 Nobel prize in medicine has been awarded to Japanese cell biologist Yoshinori Ohsumi for discoveries on how cells break down and recycle their own components. Ohsumi uncovered "mechanisms for autophagy," a fundamental process in cells that scientists believe can be harnessed to fight cancer and dementia. Autophagy is the body's internal recycling program -- scrap cell components are captured and the useful parts are stripped out to generate energy or build new cells. The process is crucial for preventing cancerous growths, warding off infection and, by maintaining a healthy metabolism, it helps protect against conditions like diabetes. The report adds: "[Ohsumi] said he chose to focus on the cell's waste disposal system, an unfashionable subject at the time, because he wanted to work on something different. By studying the process in yeast cells, Ohsumi identified the main genes involved in autophagy and showed how the proteins they code for come together to build the autophagosome membrane. He later showed that a similar cellular recycling process occurs in human cells -- and that our cells would not survive without it."
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Yoshinori Ohsumi of Japan Wins Nobel Prize In Medicine For Study of Cell Recycling

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  • Now if only we could use this research to recycle First Posts we'd have the makings of a perpetual motion machine :D
  • I guess it serves to remind us that a cell is far smarter than a 'smart' cell phone.

    • Well, for one a cell would not suddenly explode if it got too much energy. Neither would a cell be stupid enough to disable any and all ways to repair itself.

  • Public radio was talking about this yesterday morning while I was driving to work. Will we see an article tomorrow then about who won the Physics prize today?
  • huge (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    it's a huge discovery and his first steps were pretty ingenious. like everything else in molecular biology the complexity is unreal and our understanding of all the various aspects is pretty trivial. the field has exploded and there's even a journal called Autophagy now, if that's any indicator of its importance. The main huge area of research of late is how cancer cells use autophagy to evade nutrient starvation under hypoxic growth conditions as well as survive chemotherapeutic insults. there's pretty

  • tem because he wanted to work on something different. Am I missing something here?

  • It never ceases to amaze me how much we still don't know about biology and life. You'd have thought that all cellular processes would be fully understood by now, but since we still don't even know the functions of all proteins (let alone "junk" DNA that has been found to have important functions as well), I guess that's obviously not the case.

  • Did anyone else just get a craving for pork rice bowls?

    • by Bob_Who ( 926234 )

      Might as well. No point in craving sushi anymore. We forgot to recycle the sea food bounty we've destroyed.

      • It's all recycled.. all bycatch is thrown overboard. The fish you eat is recycled by your colon and goes back into the sea as effluent. Voila!

COMPASS [for the CDC-6000 series] is the sort of assembler one expects from a corporation whose president codes in octal. -- J.N. Gray