Theodore Friedmann is credited with originating the concept of gene therapy in the 1970ies and doing fundamental research since in this field. Alain Fischer demonstrated the clinical efficacy of gene therapy for the first time, using blood stem cells to treat a fatal genetic disorder called X-linked severe combined immunodeficiency. Yutaka Takahashi, a professor emeritus of civil engineering at the University of Tokyo, convinced engineers and policymakers to look holistically at entire river basins and the hydrological cycle when attempting to control flooding, rather than simply building more dams and higher embankments.
Nikkei Biotech news release, Jan. 30, 2015
The Japan Prize 2015 goes to Theodore Friedmann (USDA San Diego), Alain Fischer (Collège de France, Imagine Institute) and Yutaka Takahashi (University of Tokyo)