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2 IN U.S. WIN NOBEL FOR MEDICINE

SHARE 2 IN U.S. WIN NOBEL FOR MEDICINE

American professors J. Michael Bishop and Harold E. Varmus were jointly awarded the Nobel prize for medicine Monday, in recognition of cellular research that has helped scientists understand how cancerous tumors develop.

Bishop, 53, originally of York, Pa., and Varmus, 49, a native of Oceanside, N.Y., are professors in microbiology and immunology at the University of California at San Francisco's school of medicine.Sweden's prestigious Karolinska Institute said the two men made discoveries regarding identification of a large family of genes that control normal cell growth and division but can cause abnormal growth after external disturbance.

Bishop and Varmus in 1976 published their conclusion that the transformation of a normal cell into a tumor cell resulting in cancer is caused by the disturbance of a normal cellular gene - an oncogene - and not by a virus.

"They have been given the prize for the genius of their way of thinking," Professor Gosta Garthon of the awarding committee told United Press International. "It was an experience of enlightment for scientists around the world."

Bishop and Varmus were among more than 250 scientists named by nominating organizations as candidates for the prize, which includes a cash award of $460,000.

The Nobel prize in medicine was the second of the 1989 Nobel season and the first of five to be awarded in Sweden. On Friday, the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Tibet's exiled god-king, the dalai lama.