2015 Nobel Prize for Medicine honors parasitic disease research



Three biomedical scientists who developed revolutionary therapies for the treatment of parasitic diseases have won the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Microbiologists William C. Campbell, PhD, and Satoshi Omura, PhD, were honored for the discovery of avermectin, the derivatives of which have radically lowered the incidence of river blindness and lymphatic filariasis, as well as showing efficacy against an expanding number of other parasitic diseases. Dr. Campbell and Dr. Omura shared the award with pharmacologist Youyou Tu, who discovered artemisinin, a drug that has significantly reduced the mortality rates for patients suffering from malaria.

Dr. Campbell, an expert in parasite biology, is based at Drew University in Madison, N.J., while Dr. Omura, renowned for his expertise in isolating natural products, works at Kitasato University in Tokyo. Ms. Tu, the first China-based researcher to win a science Nobel, is chief professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medical Sciences in Beijing.

According to the prize announcement from the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, the research of the 2015 Physiology or Medicine Laureates “represents a paradigm shift in medicine, which has not only provided a revolutionary therapy for patients suffering from devastating parasitic diseases, but it has also promoted well-being and prosperity of both individuals and society. The global impact of their discoveries and the benefit to mankind is immeasurable.”

Read the 2015 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine announcement here, and the complete scientific statement supporting the winners here.

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