James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Sudhof win 2013 Nobel prize for medicine

James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Sudhof
James Rothman, Randy Schekman and Thomas Sudhof - AFP

Two Americans, James Rothman and Randy Schekman, and Germany's Thomas Sudhof won the 2013 Nobel prize for medicine or physiology for research into how the cell organises its transport system, the award-giving body said on Monday.

"Through their discoveries, Rothman, Schekman and Sudhof have revealed the exquisitely precise control system for the transport and delivery of cellular cargo," the Nobel Assembly at Sweden's Karolinska Institute said in a statement when awarding the prize of 8 million crowns ($1.2 million).

Medicine is the first of the Nobel prizes awarded each year. Prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were first awarded in 1901 in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel.

(Reporting by Stockholm Newsroom)

A look at the 2013 Nobel Medicine Prize

Here is a look at the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, which was awarded jointly on Monday to James E. Rothman, Randy W. Schekman and Thomas C. Suedhof "for their discoveries of machinery regulating vesicle traffic, a major transport system in our cells".

- The 2013 prize honours three scientists who have solved the mystery of how the cell organizes its transport system. Each cell is a factory that produces and exports molecules. These molecules are transported around the cell in small packages called vesicles. The three Nobel Laureates have discovered the molecular principles that govern how this cargo is delivered to the right place at the right time in the cell.

- Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been awarded 103 times between 1901 and 2012. In all but 38 cases they were given to more than one recipient.

- Of the 201 individuals awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine up to 2012, only ten are women. Of these Barbara McClintock is the only one who has received an unshared Nobel Prize.

- To date, the youngest Nobel Laureate in Physiology or Medicine is Frederick G. Banting, who was 32 years old when he was awarded the Medicine Prize in 1923.

- Some Famous Winners: Robert Koch, the German physician and bacteriologist, won in 1905 for his work on tuberculosis. Frederick Banting, the Canadian physiologist who with his assistant Charles Best discovered insulin, the principal remedy for diabetes, won the prize in 1923.

- One winner was forced to decline the prize. German dictator Adolf Hitler had forbidden three German laureates from accepting their prizes, including Gerhard Domagk, who was awarded the 1939 Nobel Medicine prize. He could later receive the Diploma and Medal, but not the prize amount.

Sources: Reuters, http://nobelprize.org. Chambers Biographical Dictionary.

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