“Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement awarding the 8 million Swedish crowns ($969,000)
Thousands of spontaneous changes to a cell’s genome occur on a daily basis while radiation, free radicals and carcinogenic substances can also damage DNA.
To keep genetic materials from disintegrating, a range of molecular systems monitor and repair DNA, in processes that the three award-winning scientists all helped map out, opening the door to applications such as new cancer treatments.
Lindahl works at Britain’s Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, while Modrich is a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine in the United States.
Sancar, who has U.S. and Turkish citizenship, is a professor at the University of North Carolina in the United States.
This week’s three Nobel Prizes reflect the globalization of science, which the United States often dominated in the last century. The award in medicine or physiology on Monday went to citizens of China and Japan, as well as an American. The physics prize on Tuesday went to experts in Japan and Canada.
Wednesday’s chemistry prize winners included Dr. Lindahl who born in Sweden, and Dr. Sancar of Turkey — sustained the global trend.
On Monday, Tu Youyou of China, Irish-born American William Campbell, and Japan’s Satoshi Omura won the Nobel Medicine Prize for unlocking revolutionary treatments for malaria and roundworm, diseases that blight millions of lives.
Takaaki Kajita of Japan and Arthur McDonald of Canada were awarded the Nobel Physics Prize on Tuesday for resolving a mystery about neutrinos, a fundamental but enigmatic particle.
The winner of the literature prize will be revealed on Thursday, while the peace prize will be announced in Oslo on Friday.
The economics prize will wrap up this year’s Nobel season on Monday, October 12.
The laureates will receive their prizes at formal ceremonies in Stockholm on December 10, the death anniversary of the prize founder Alfred Nobel, a Swedish philanthropist and scientist.