The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2002

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2002 was awarded jointly to Sydney Brenner, H. Robert Horvitz and John E. Sulston for their discoveries concerning “genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death”.

Nobelist Born Died Affiliation at the time of the award
Sydney Brenner 13 January 1927, Germiston, South Africa The Molecular Sciences Institute, Berkeley, CA, USA
H. Robert Horvitz 8 May 1947, Chicago, IL, USA Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Cambridge, MA, USA
John E. Sulston 27 March 1942, Cambridge, United Kingdom 6 March 2018 The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, Cambridge, United Kingdom

The human body consists of hundreds of cell types, all originating from the fertilized egg. During the embryonic and foetal periods, the number of cells increase dramatically. The cells mature and become specialized to form the various tissues and organs of the body. Large numbers of cells are formed also in the adult body. In parallel with this generation of new cells, cell death is a normal process, both in the foetus and adult, to maintain the appropriate number of cells in the tissues. This delicate, controlled elimination of cells is called programmed cell death.

This year’s Nobel Laureates in Physiology or Medicine have made seminal discoveries concerning the genetic regulation of organ development and programmed cell death. By establishing and using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans as an experimental model system, possibilities were opened to follow cell division and differentiation from the fertilized egg to the adult. The Laureates have identified key genes regulating organ development and programmed cell death and have shown that corresponding genes exist in higher species, including man. The discoveries are important for medical research and have shed new light on the pathogenesis of many diseases.

More details, please click The 2002 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


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