The subject of the discovery that has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is deeply rooted in research at the University of Szeged.
The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine is awarded to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian for their discoveries of thermal and mechanical transducers. The University of Szeged is very proud that this subject is deeply rooted in research carried out at the institution.
„We are very proud that the 2021 Nobel Prize in Medicine is strongly linked to scientists from Szeged who have carried out research on the neurobiology of heat and pain sensation.” - Said Prof. Dr. Márta Széll, Vice-Rector for Strategic Planning.
During their research at the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Szeged in the 1940s, pharmacologists Professor Miklós Jancsó and his wife Aranka Jancsó-Gábor made fundamental observations concerning the function and pharmacology of sensory nerve endings involved in transmitting heat and pain.
„Repeated topical or systemic administration of capsaicin was shown to affect the function of sensory nerve endings in a specific way: the treatment selectively and persistently inhibited chemical-induced pain and warmth sensations and neurogenic inflammatory responses. The phenomenon has become known in scientific literature as capsaicin desensitisation.” - Dr. Gábor Jancsó, Professor Emeritus, told us.
„The research concerning sensory nerve endings was continued by their son, Professor Gábor Jancsó.” - recalled Prof. Dr. Márta Széll. He and his team morphologically identified capsaicin-sensitive specific pain sensory neurons and revealed the sensory neural systems involved in the central nervous system’s processing of warm and painful chemical stimuli. Since the 1970s, their findings have been published in numerous prestigious scientific journals, including Nature.
Jancsó’s article titled Pharmacologically induced selective degeneration of chemosensitive primary sensory neurones is listed as reference in the scientific background material of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, as published by the Nobel Committee.
At the University of Szeged, a number of further internationally renowned scientists have carried out research in this field. In particular, Dr. János Pórszász, Dr. János Szolcsányi, Dr. György Such, Dr. Ferenc Joó, Dr. Erzsébet Király and Dr. György Such Jr. Ferenc Obál. Research in this field is currently carried out at the University of Szeged under the leadership of Dr. Mária Dux and Dr. Péter Sánta.
Article written by: Ilona Újszászi
Translated by: Rita Csúri-Magosi