• Kyodo

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Kyoto University professor Kazutoshi Mori shares this year’s Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award with Peter Walter of the University of California, San Francisco, for unraveling the inner workings of the cell to process proteins that serve as a basis for ongoing drug development for a range of illnesses, the Lasker Foundation said Monday.

The award ceremony will be held in New York on Sept. 19. It is considered the most prestigious medical prize in the United States and its recipients include a number of subsequent Nobel laureates.

The intracellular mechanism concerns a minute membrane organ called the endoplasmic reticulum and is called the unfolded protein response. It detects harmful misfolded proteins and prompts the nucleus to carry out corrective measures.

Based on this finding, research is undertaken in various parts of the world to develop drugs to treat various ailments, including cancer, diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.

Mori, 56, hails from Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, and graduated from Kyoto University in 1981. He has been serving as professor at the university since 2003.

He is the seventh Japanese to receive the award from the New York-based foundation. Past Japanese recipients include Shinya Yamanaka, Susumu Tonegawa and Akira Endo. Yamanaka and Tonegawa were also Nobel recipients in medicine.

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