Two researchers from Japan listed as potential Nobel laureates

A list of this year's potential Nobel Prize winners released by a British academic information service company includes a Japanese researcher and another of Japanese descent.

This year's Nobel laureates will be announced starting October 2.

The list by Clarivate contains 23 influential researchers from five countries. The firm analyzed about 58 million papers published worldwide in making its choices.

Yanagisawa Masashi is a candidate in the category of physiology or medicine. He's the director of the International Institute for Integrative Sleep Medicine at the University of Tsukuba, Japan.

Yanagisawa discovered that a neural signal substance called orexin that's secreted from the brain controls sleep.

This helped researchers understand the cause of the sleep disorder narcolepsy and develop drugs for insomnia.

Kataoka Kazunori is a candidate for the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. He is the director general of the Innovation Center of NanoMedicine at Kawasaki Institute of Industrial Promotion in Japan.

Kataoka has developed a device for targeted drug delivery called a nanomachine, in which a drug is placed on a substance less than one ten-thousandth of a millimeter in size. The method has contributed to better cancer treatment.

Among researchers listed by Clarivate in the past, 71 have gone on to win Nobel Prizes.