The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2021 was awarded for the discovery of receptors for temperature and touch

David Julius and Ardem Patapoutian were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 2021. Their discoveries were focused on TRP-ion channels, the receptors responsible for heat and cold, and PIEZO-ion channels, the receptors for touch, which are also involved in sensing body position. The signal activation of ion channels that will subsequently be perceived by the brain makes these receptors vital for our survival.

The study of ion channels, “sensors” of physiological state, helps to better understand the mechanisms responsible for pain, the transmission of pain impulses. Research by Dr. Julius and Dr. Patapoutian deepens our basic knowledge in this area, and can also be used in the development of methods for the treatment of various diseases, including chronic pain syndrome, which is often found in cancer patients.

More effective relief of chronic or neuropathic pain will significantly increase patients’ quality of life, therefore, such discoveries help to advance the day when cancer is defeated.