Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza “for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.”
William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza discovered how cells can sense and adapt to changing oxygen availability. They identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen.
The seminal discoveries by this year’s Nobel Laureates revealed the mechanism for one of life’s most essential adaptive processes. 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.
William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza to share cash award:
Drs. William G. Kaelin Jr. of Harvard University, Gregg L. Semenza of Johns Hopkins University and Peter J. Ratcliffe at the Francis Crick Institute in Britain and Oxford University will share equally the 9 million kronor ($918,000) cash award. It is the 110th prize in the category that has been awarded since 1901.
3 get Nobel Medicine prize for learning how cells use oxygen: What is their contribution
A committee said their work has “greatly expanded our knowledge of how physiological response makes life possible,” explaining that the scientists identified the biological machinery that regulates how genes respond to varying levels of oxygen. That response is key to things like producing red blood cells, generating new blood vessels and fine-tuning the immune system.
The Nobel Committee said scientists are focused on developing drugs that can treat diseases by either activating or blocking the body’s oxygen-sensing machinery. The oxygen response is hijacked by cancer cells, for example, which stimulate formation of blood vessels to help themselves grow. And people with kidney failure often get hormonal treatments for anemia, but the work of the new laureates points the way toward new treatments, Nils-Goran Larsson of the Nobel committee told The Associated Press.
More about upcoming Nobel Prizes:
The economics prize will be awarded on Oct. 14.
The 2018 Nobel Literature prize was suspended after a sex abuse scandal rocked the Swedish Academy, the body that awards the literature prizes, so they are awarding two prizes this year.
The economics prize — officially known as the Bank of Sweden Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel — wasn’t created by Nobel, but by Riksbanken, Sweden’s central bank, in 1968. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences selects that winner.
The laureates will receive their awards at elegant ceremonies in Stockholm and Oslo on Dec. 10 — the anniversary of Nobel’s death in 1896.