Nobel Chemistry
The portraits of the winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2015 (L-R) Sweden's Tomas Lindahl, Paul Modrich of the U.S. and Turkish-American Aziz Sancar are displayed on a screen during a press conference, Oct. 7, 2015, at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in Stockholm. Getty Images/AFP/Jonathan Nackstrand

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Sweden's Tomas Lindahl, American Paul Modrich and Turkish-born Aziz Sancar won the 2015 Nobel Prize for Chemistry for work on mapping how cells repair damaged DNA, giving insight into cancer treatments, the award-giving body said on Wednesday.

"Their work has provided fundamental knowledge of how a living cell functions and is, for instance, used for the development of new cancer treatments," the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences said in a statement awarding the 8 million Swedish crowns ($969,000)

Thousands of spontaneous changes to a cell's genome occur on a daily basis while radiation, free radicals and carcinogenic substances can also damage DNA.

To keep genetic materials from disintegrating, a range of molecular systems monitor and repair DNA, in processes that the three award-winning scientists all helped map out, opening the door to applications such as new cancer treatments.

Lindahl works at Britain's Francis Crick Institute and Clare Hall Laboratory, while Modrich is a researcher at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and Duke University School of Medicine in the United States.

Sancar, who has U.S. and Turkish citizenship, is a professor at the University of North Carolina in the United States.

Chemistry was the third of this year's Nobel prizes. The prize is named after dynamite inventor Alfred Nobel and has been awarded since 1901 for achievements in science, literature and peace in accordance with his will.