publication date: Oct. 11, 2019

Kaelin, Semenza, Ratcliffe win Nobel for research on how cells adjust to oxygen availability

By Alex Carolan

The the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was shared by three researchers for work focused on how cells sense oxygen availability and adapt to it.

The prize, announced Oct. 7, went to:

William G. Kaelin Jr., professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, senior physician of medicine at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and a member of the Center Scientific Council at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute;

Gregg L. Semenza, C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Pediatrics and director of the vascular program at the Institute for Cell Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and

Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, director for the Target Discovery Institute within the Nuffield Department of Medicine at Oxford University, member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, and director of Clinical Research at Francis Crick Institute, London.

“They established the basis for our understanding of how oxygen levels affect cellular metabolism and physiological function. Their discoveries have also paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and many other diseases,” the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet, which awards the prize in Physiology or Medicine, said in a statement.

The three researchers also received the 2016 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for their work.

“It’s not a surprise that, along with Sir Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza, [William Kaelin] has been awarded medicine’s most prestigious honor,” Acting NCI Director Doug Lowy said. “His work helped to unravel the mystery around how cells survive in hypoxic environments, namely identifying VHL’s role in cellular oxygen sensing.”

“Bill’s award continues a trend of … Continue reading Kaelin, Semenza, Ratcliffe win Nobel for research on how cells adjust to oxygen availability

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