The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to three doctors for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.
On Monday (October 07), the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet announced it had decided to award the 2019 title to William G. Kaelin Jr of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute; Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe from the Francis Crick Institute in London, the Target Discovery Institute in Oxford and the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research; and Gregg L. Semenza from Johns Hopkins University and the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering, who had identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen.
In announcing the details, the Assembly said the independent work of the three scientists had revealed the mechanism for one of life’s most essential adaptive processes and established the basis for our understanding of how oxygen levels affect cellular metabolism and physiological function. They said this work paves the way for promising new strategies to fight anaemia, cancer and many other diseases.
A total of 110 Nobel Prizes in Physiology or Medicine have been awarded since 1901.