This year`s Nobel Prize week opens on Monday with the announcement of winners in physiology or medicine, the Nobel Foundation said in a statement, according to RIA Novosti.

The prize announcement on Monday is the first of six prizes focusing on medicine, physics, chemistry, economics, literature and the Peace Prize that will be announced through Oct. 12.

Due to traditionally high secrecy surrounding the nominations, the announcements of laureates have been subject of wild speculation.

In the physiology or medicine category, media and bookmakers around the world have picked several `favorites` as potential winners.

- Ernest McCulloch and James Till, two Canadian scientists, for their discovery of stem cells.

- Australian-born U.S. biologist Elizabeth Blackburn, and U.S. biologists Carol Greider and Jack Szostak for their enzyme research.

- Pierre Chambon form France, Ronald M. Evans and Elwood Jensen from the U.S. for their simultaneous discovery of nuclear hormone receptors.

All scientists have been previously awarded the Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research.

The Nobel Prizes, founded by Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel, were first awarded in 1901. Laureates receive 10 million Swedish kronor (over $1.42 million this year) which can be split between up to three winners per prize.

Last year, the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to German virologist Harald zur Hausen, and French virologists Francoise Barre-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier for discoveries of human papilloma viruses causing cervical cancer and the discovery of human immunodeficiency virus.

There were no Russian scientists among winners in this category in the past decade.