Like apoptosis, autophagy is a fundamental process for the maintain of organ function and cell hometostastis under stress conditions or external aggression. Autophagy is  the process of degrading and recycling cellular components and dysfunction of this process is often involved in various pathologies, such as cancer or neurodegenerative diseases. The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has decided to award the 2016 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine to Yoshinori Ohsumi for his discoveries of mechanisms for autophagy. These findings should help to find new treatment for complex diseases.

“Autophagy has been known for over 50 years but its fundamental importance in physiology and medicine was only recognized after Yoshinori Ohsumi’s paradigm-shifting research in the 1990’s. For his discoveries, he is awarded this year’s Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine.”