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Nobel Laureate Yamanaka Names Three Japanese Candidates

By October 6, 2016 at 8:48 am

The week starting October 3, Nobel Week, is slated to announce this year's Nobel Prize recipients in Physiology or Medicine (3), Physics (4) and Chemistry (5). Japan won three awards in the persons of Satochi Omura (Physiology or Medicine) and Takaaki Kajita (Physics).

Physiology or Medicine tops all awards in the order of awarding and probably has greater impacts on our daily life. Prof. Shinya Yamanaka of Kyoto University was awarded for his work in developing the now famous iPS (induced pluripotent stem cell) revealed in his interview NHK three potential recipients this year among Japanese researchers.

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The first research mentioned by Prof. Yamanaka is on PD-1, research that is said to lead to the development of a new drug against cancer. Behind this research is a Kyoto University professor emeritus Tasuku Honjo.

Prof. Yamanaka comments:

"Cancer treatment is being done by operation, carcinostatic agents or radiotherapeutics. Prof. Honjo focuses on man's inherent immune power.

"Prof. Honjo discovered a braking switch which put on the brakes immune cells - a mechanism which cancer cells take advantage of. He came up with a medication to release the brake off the cancer cells.

"Prof. Honjo reports the medication has helped reduce the size of cancer cells of carcinoma cutis (skin cancer) and lung carcinoma (lung cancer)."

Prof. Yamanaka points out PD-1, though still too dear to be practical, is nonetheless a bright hope for cancer treatment. On Prof. Honjo, he says he "feels like saluting him each time I meet him." and adds:

"Prof, Honjo is a charismatic figure to us all and we certainly wish he be awarded this time."

Prof. Yamanaka then mentioned Prof. Yoshizumi Ishino of Kyushu University and Prof. emeritus Atsu Nakada to Osaka university on researches on Genome editing - a technology that could change the entire feature of life. He also quoted a dramatic cholesterol-reducing medication Statin and its discoverer Prof. Akira Endo of Tokyo Univ. of Agriculture and Technology. (Nathan Shiga)