Nobel prize in medicine awarded to Yoshinori Ohsumi for ground-breaking cell repair research

Top prize for vital research

Yoshinori Ohsumi has been awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for his research into the ways the body's cells repair themselves.

The 71-year old Japanese cell biologist has been lauded for discovering the "mechanisms for autophagy", the process in which waste cells are hunted down and recycled and either turned into new cellular components or rebuilt into energy.

It's research that could lead to new discoveries in the fight against serious diseases, including cancer and chronic conditions such as diabetes. New understanding of autophagy thanks to Ohsumi's work allows for new drugs to be developed targeted at the cells in question.

Prestigious prize

As well as the accolade itself, the Nobel prize awards Ohsumi 8m Swedish kronor (about £718,000).

Speaking to Japanese broadcaster NHK (via the Guardian), Oshumi said that he was "honored" to have been awarded the prize.

"I wanted to do something different from other people," Oshumi said. "I thought auto-decomposition was going to be an interesting topic."

Nobel prizes for physics, chemistry and peace will be announced later this week, while the economics Nobel prize winner will be announced next Monday.