Monday, October 6, 2008

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine will be awarded to Harald zur Hausen of Germany for his discovery of human papilloma virus (HPV), that can cause cervical cancer, and to Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier of France for their discovery of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the virus that causes AIDS.

An understanding of the HIV virus was essential in the development of antiretroviral drugs that revolutionized treatment of the disease.

The discovery of HPV and its link to cervical cancer was profoundly important in understanding the ties of viruses to cancer and allowed the development of a vaccine.

Each represents a great triumph of human ingenuity and hard work in the battle with disease.

(image credit: nobelprize.org)