From Popular Mechanics
The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to a trio of scientists-William G. Kaelin Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, and Gregg L. Semenza-who study a set of proteins that control how cells use oxygen, known as the hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF) system. Their collective discoveries have led to the development of treatments for anemia, cancer, and other blood-related diseases.
The award was announced this morning in a live press conference at the the Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet. The three winners will split the $1.1 million award evenly. As is the case each year, the winners were informed via a phone call from representatives of the Nobel Assembly. Last year, the prize was shared by James P. Allison of the MD Anderson Cancer Center and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University for their work in immunotherapy.
Ratcliffe, of Oxford University and the Francis Crick Institute in London, and Semenza, of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, have worked to unravel the mechanistic drive of the gene that regulates the production of the hormone erythropoietin (EPO), which spurs red blood cell production when the body is starved of oxygen (hypoxia). Semenza published a paper in 1995 that detailed his discovery of the HIF system and the genes that encode it.
Around the same time, Harvard University’s Kaelin, a cancer researcher, discovered that an inherited genetic mutation, called von Hippel-Lindau’s (VHL) disease, can increase the risk of some cancers and controls a cell’s response to hypoxia. His work has showed that the VHL gene and one of the DNA-binding proteins within the HIF system, HIF-1α, interact.
On Tuesday, the winners of the Nobel Prize in Physics will be announced, followed by the Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday, the Nobel Prize in Literature on Thursday, and the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday. On Monday, the Nobel Prize committee will award the Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on Monday.
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