Other news - Tuesday, 5 October, 2021

Researchers in Pécs also closely connected to the Nobel-prize awarded for cloning of capsaicin receptors

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences awarded a shared Nobel-prize in medicine to David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian in 2021; the decision was announced on October 4. With the help of capsaicin, David Julius discovered the TRPV1 receptor in the nerve endings responsible for heat detection in the skin in 1997. The colleagues, especially the late professor dr. János Szolcsányi, of the Department of Pharmacology played an important role in this acknowledgement. 

Széchenyi-prize pharmacologist dr. János Szolcsányi conducted his research at the University of Pécs Medical School in 1970, with dr. Aranka Jancsó – wife of his teacher, dr. Miklós Jancsó. The concept of a capsaicin pain receptor is the result of research in Pécs, the findings were published in 1977. Following the death of Mrs. Jancsó, professor Szolcsányi continued his intense work in the Department of Pharmacology and made several internationally acclaimed discoveries with his young colleagues in the field of physiology and pharmacology of sensory nerves, following American, German and British study trips.

The research of this year’s Nobel-prize winner David Julius is based on this. He managed to clone the capsaicin-receptor, opening the road to developing new types of painkillers that affect sensory nerves directly.

János Szolcsányi was nominated for a Nobel-prize in 2015 with David Julius, however, he did not receive the prize at that time. The professor could not live to this year’s success. His students, students of the “Szolcsányi School” continue his research after working with him for decades: dr. Erika Pintér, dr. Loránd Barthó, dr. Gábor Pethő and dr. Zsuzsanna Helyes. They are still in close cooperation with David Julius and his colleagues, who all talk about the Hungarian research with high acclaim.

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