Nobel Medicine Prize: 2021

Nobel Medicine Prize: 2021


  • S. scientists David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian have won the Nobel Medicine Prize for discoveries on receptors for temperature and touch. They will share the Nobel Prize cheque for 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.1 million).
  • The pair’s research is being used to develop treatments for a wide range of diseases and conditions, including chronic pain.

About their discoveries:

  • They discovered the molecular sensors in the human body that are sensitive to heat, and to mechanical pressure, and make us “feel” hot or cold, or the touch of a sharp object on our skin.
  • Julius discovered the first heat receptor. His work involved experiments with capsaicin, the substance that makes hot peppers hot, to identify a sensor in the nerve endings of the skin that responds to heat.
  • Patapoutian unlocked the molecular basis for sensing temperature or mechanical force working with cold and used pressure-sensitive cells to discover a novel class of sensors that respond to mechanical stimuli in the skin and internal organs. 


Significance of these discoveries:

  • Breakthroughs in physiology have often resulted in an improvement in the ability to fight diseases and disorders.
  • The identification of these receptors opens up the possibility of regulating their functioning. For example, there are receptors that make us feel pain. If these receptors can be suppressed, or made less effective, the person would feel less pain.

Nobel Prize:

  • The prestigious award comes with a gold medal and 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.14 million).
  • The prize money comes from a bequest left by the prize’s creator, Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel, who died in 1895.
  • The Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine is awarded for discovery of major importance in life science or medicine.
  • Karolinska Institutet (now The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet) selects the winner.
  • Candidates eligible for the medicine prize are nominated by nominators who have received an invitation from the Nobel Committee to submit names for consideration. No one can nominate herself or himself.

Download yojna ias daily current affairs 5 Oct 2021

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