The Latest: Work on DNA repair wins Nobel chemistry prize

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2 Scientists in US, 1 in UK Win Chemistry Nobel

STOCKHOLM (AP) — Three scientists from Sweden, the U.S. and Turkey won the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for showing how cells repair damaged DNA, work that can be used to develop new cancer treatments.

Swedish scientist Tomas Lindahl, American Paul Modrich and U.S.-Turkish national Modrich Aziz Sancar shared the 8 million Swedish kronor (about $960,000) award.

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The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said their work on DNA repair "has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions." Their findings can be used for the development of new cancer treatments, among other things, the academy said.

Lindahl, 77, is an emeritus group leader at Francis Crick Institute and Emeritus director of Cancer Research UK at Clare Hall Laboratory in Britain.

Modrich, born in 1946, is an investigator at Howard Hughes Medical Institute and professor at Duke University School of Medicine in Durham, North Carolina.

Sancar, 69, is a professor at the University of North Carolina School of Medicine in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

The academy said DNA was thought to be a stable molecule until the 1970s when Lindahl showed that it decays at a fast rate. Our DNA is damaged by ultraviolet rays from the sun and carcinogenic substances.

Sancar mapped a mechanism that cells use to repair ultraviolet damage to DNA while Modrich showed how the cell corrects errors when DNA is replicated during cell division, the academy said.

See photos of this year's Nobel Prize winners:

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Nobel Prize winners 2015
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The Latest: Work on DNA repair wins Nobel chemistry prize
The laureate medal featuring the portrait of Alfred Nobel is seen before a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winner of the 2015 Nobel Medicine Prize on October 5, 2015 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Swedish inventor and scholar Alfred Nobel, who made a vast fortune from his invention of dynamite in 1866, ordered the creation of the famous Nobel prizes in his will. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
A view of the screen showing an image of Professor Angus Deaton, winner of the 2015 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel, as the Permanent Secretary for the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences addresses a press conference to announce the winner of the prize, at the Royal Swedish Academy of Science, in Stockholm, Sweden, Monday, Oct. 12, 2015. Scottish economist Angus Deaton has won the Nobel memorial prize in economic sciences for "his analysis of consumption, poverty, and welfare," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said Monday. (Maja Suslin/TT News Agency via AP)
A combo of pictures taken on October 9, 2015 January 7, 2015 in Tunis shows (LtoR from up) President of the Tunisian employers union (UTICA) Wided Bouchamaoui; Tunisian lawyer Fadhel Mahfoudh; President of the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH), Abdessattar ben Moussa and Secretary General of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT) Houcine Abbassi. Tunisian mediators of the socalled National Dialogue Quartet (Tunisian General Labour Union UGTT, Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts UTICA, Tunisian Human Rights League LTDH and Tunisian Order of Lawyers) won the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize, the Norwegian Nobel Commitee announced on October 9, 2015. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
2015 Nobel Peace Prize Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT)'s secretary general, Houcine Abassi, poses for a photo in Sao Paulo on October 11, 2015. Abassi was awarded the Peace Prize along with the other members of the Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet -Tunisian Confederation of Industry, Trade and Handicrafts (UTICA) Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH) and Tunisian Order of Lawyers--the Norwegian Nobel Commitee announced, for helping rescue the only democracy that emerged from the Arab Spring, in a hugely symbolic show of support for the country after a wave of jihadist attacks. AFP PHOTO / MIGUELSCHINCARIOL (Photo credit should read Miguel Schincariol/AFP/Getty Images)
President of the Tunisian Human Rights League (LTDH), Abdessattar Ben Moussa, poses for pictures in Tunis on October 9, 2015, after he was awarded the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize with other members of Tunisian National Dialogue Quartet. The Norwegian Nobel Commitee announced that Tunisian mediators of the so called National Dialogue Quartet (Tunisian General Labour Union UGTT, Confederation of Industry, Tunisian Trade and Handicrafts UTICA, Tunisian Human Rights League LTDH and Tunisian Order of Lawyers) won the 2015 Nobel Peace Prize. AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
Belarus writer and journalist Svetlana Alexievich leaves after giving a press conference in Minsk, on October 8, 2015, following the announcement of her Nobel Literature Prize earlier in the day. Belarussian writer Svetlana Alexievich said on October 8 she was dedicating her Nobel prize for literature to her homeland -- where her books cannot be published -- blasting strongman rule there and in neighbouring Russia. AFP PHOTO / MAXIM MALINOVSKY (Photo credit should read MAXIM MALINOVSKY/AFP/Getty Images)
Chinese 2015 Nobel Prize winner in medicine Tu Youyou speaks during an interview in her apartment in Beijing, China, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. (AP Photo/Mark Schiefelbein)
MADISON, NJ - UNDATED: In this undated handout photo provided by Drew University from 2001, Dr. William Campbell (R) works one-on-one with a Drew University undergraduate student on real-world, scientific research as part of Drews Research Institute For Scientist Emeriti (RISE Program), through which senior scientists work directly with students in the lab. Campbell, along with researchers Satoshi Omura, Youyou Tu were awarded with the 2015 Nobel Prize in Medicine. (Photo by Bill Denison/Drew University via Getty Images)
NORTH ANDOVER, MA - OCTOBER 5: The Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded Monday to three scientists, including North Andover's Dr. William Campbell, for discovering drugs that have been used to treat millions of people with river blindness, malaria, and other diseases spread by parasites in Latin America and Africa. (Photo by Suzanne Kreiter/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
STOCKHOLM, SWEDEN - OCTOBER 07: The portraits of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 Turkish scientist Aziz Sancar (R), Paul Modrich and Tomas Lindahl are displayed on a screen during a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winner of the 2015 Nobel Prize in Chemistry on October 7, 2015 in Stockholm, Sweden. The Nobel judges awarded the Nobel chemistry prize jointly to Aziz Sancar (R), Paul Modrich and Tomas Lindahl for mapping and explaining how cells repair their DNA and safeguard the genetic information. (Photo by Atila Altuntas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Sweden's Tomas Lindahl, left, one of the joint winners of the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry, smiles smiles as he arrives for a press conference, at the Francis Crick Institute in Potters Bar, England, Wednesday, Oct. 7, 2015. Sweden's Tomas Lindahl, American Paul Modrich and U.S.-Turkish scientist Aziz Sancar won the Nobel Prize in chemistry on Wednesday for "mechanistic studies of DNA repair. (AP Photo/Alastair Grant)
The portrait of Satoshi Omura of Japan and an illustration describing his work are displayed on a screen during a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winners of the 2015 Nobel Medicine Prize on October 5, 2015 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Irish-born William Campbell, Satoshi Omura of Japan and China's Youyou Tu won the Nobel Medicine Prize for their discoveries of treatments against parasites, the jury said. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Takaaki Kajita, a professor at the University of Tokyo Institute for Cosmic Ray Research speaks at a press conference after it was announced he had won the Nobel Physics Prize at the University of Tokyo on October 6, 2015, for resolving a mystery with co-winner Arthur McDonald of Canada about neutrinos, a fundamental but enigmatic particle. The pair were honoured for work that helped determine that neutrinos have mass, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said. AFP PHOTO / Yoshikazu TSUNO (Photo credit should read YOSHIKAZU TSUNO/AFP/Getty Images)
TOKYO, JAPAN - OCTOBER 05: Professor Satoshi Omura speaks during a press conference on October 5, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan. The Nobel committee announced on October 5, 2015 that William Campbell, research fellow emeritus at Drew University, Satoshi Omura, a professor emeritus at Kitasato University and Tu Youyou, chief professor at the China Academy of Traditional Chinese Medicine won the Nobel Prize in Medicine for discovering Artemisinin, a drug that has significantly reduced death rates from malaria. (Photo by Takashi Aoyama/Getty Images)
Sara Snogerup Linse, Chairman of the Nobel Committee for Chemistry, unveils the model of a DNA during a press conference to present the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 on October 7, 2015 at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Sweden's Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich of the US and Turkish-American Aziz Sancar on Wednesday won the Nobel Chemistry Prize for work on how cells repair damaged DNA. (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
The portraits of the winners of the Nobel Medicine Prize 2015 (L-R) Irish-born William Campbell, Satoshi Omura of Japan and China's Youyou Tu are displayed on a screen during a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winners of the 2015 Nobel Medicine Prize on October 5, 2015 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
ANKARA, TURKEY: A file photo shows that Prof. Dr. Aziz Sancar, 2015 Nobel Prize Winner in Chemistry is seen during a conference in Ankara, Turkey. (Photo by Zeynep Akyil/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
Media take photos of the screen as Professor Urban Lendahl, right, announces the 2015 Nobel laureates in medicine or physiology during a press conference at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm on Monday Oct. 5, 2015. The Nobel judges awarded the prize to Irish-born William Campbell, Satoshi Omura of Japan and Tu Youyou of China, the first ever medicine laureate from China. (Fredrik Sandberg/ TT via AP) SWEDEN OUT
The portrait of China's Youyou Tu and an illustration describing her work are displayed on a screen during a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winners of the 2015 Nobel Medicine Prize on October 5, 2015 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Irish-born William Campbell, Satoshi Omura of Japan and China's Youyou Tu won the Nobel Medicine Prize for their discoveries of treatments against parasites, the jury said. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
Urban Lendahl (R), Secretary of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine, addresses a press conference of the Nobel Committee to announce the winners of the 2015 Nobel Medicine Prize on October 5, 2015 at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, Sweden. Irish-born William Campbell, Satoshi Omura of Japan and China's Youyou Tu (their portraits are displayed (L-R) on the screen in background) are the laureates of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2015. AFP PHOTO / JONATHAN NACKSTRAND (Photo credit should read JONATHAN NACKSTRAND/AFP/Getty Images)
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It said their research "has not only deepened our knowledge of how we function, but could also lead to the development of life-saving treatments."

The award will be handed out along with the other Nobel Prizes on Dec. 10, the anniversary of prize founder Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

This year's medicine prize went to scientists from Japan, the U.S. and China who discovered drugs to fight malaria and other tropical diseases. Japanese and Canadian scientists won the physics prize for discovering that tiny particles called neutrinos have mass.

The Nobel announcements continue with literature on Thursday, the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday and the economics award on Monday.

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