German, French scientists win Nobel Prize for medicine
-   +   A-   A+     08/10/2008
Harald zur Hausen of Germany and Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier of France on Monday won the 2008 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their discovery of two viruses causing severe human diseases.

Zur Hausen will share a half of the award in 10 million Swedishkronor (1.42 million U.S. dollars) and the two French scientists will share the other half, said Sweden"s Karolinska Institute, which awarded the prize bearing the name of the 19th century dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel. Zur Hausen, 72, was honored for his discovery of "human papilloma viruses (HPV) causing cervical cancer," the second most common cancer among women.
This discovery has led to characterization of the natural history of HPV infection, an understanding of mechanisms of HPV-induced carcinogenesis and the development of prophylactic vaccines against HPV acquisition, Professor Jan Andersson, a member of the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute, said at a press conference.
Zur Hausen, born in 1936, is a professor emeritus and former chairman and scientific director of the
German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg. Montagnier, 76, and Barre-Sinoussi, 61, were awarded the prize for their discovery of "human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)."
Their work led to the development of methods to diagnose infected patients and to screen blood products, which have limited the spread of the pandemic, Professor Andersson said. The medicine prize is traditionally the first of the Nobels handed out each year.
The Nobel Laureate for physics will be announced Tuesday, followed by chemistry Wednesday, literature Thursday, the Nobel Peace Prize Friday and the Nobel Economics Prize next Monday.

Alfred Nobel, a Swedish national, established the prizes in his will in the categories of medicine, physics, chemistry, literature and peace. The economics prize was created by
Sweden"s central bank in 1968. The prizes are handed out every year on Dec. 10, the anniversary of Nobel"s death in 1896.

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