(Adapted from UPI reports)
1998 Nobel Prize
The 1998 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine will be awarded to three U.S. pharmacologists, Robert F. Furchgott, in New York, Dr. Ferid Murad, in Houston, and Louis J Ignarro, pharmacologist in Los Angeles. The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute announced yesterday the three will share the prize for demonstrating nitric oxide transmits signals between cells of the body.
Their work led to the discovery that nitric oxide (NO) is a signal molecule of key importance for the cardiovascular system. It acts as a signal molecule in the nervous system, as a weapon against infections, as a regulator of blood pressure and as a gate keeper of blood flow to different organs.
The findings of the three American scientists enabled researchers to explain why Viagra works.
Now, with the knowledge of how nitric oxide starts the process of an erection, drug designers can specifically look for other agents that target the system and produce even more powerful impotence therapies. Viagra improves erections by enhancing the effects of nitric oxide.