Three scientists who led to the discovery of how cells sense and how they adapt to levels of Oxygen received Nobel prize 2019. Two of them are American, while one is a British scientist. They won the Novel award 2019 in medicine on Monday.
The award was announced by the secretary of the Nobel committee and professor of developmental biology at Karolinska Institute, Thomas Perlmann.
How cells sense and their response to changing levels of Oxygen has been essential to understanding different human-related diseases like cancer and anemia.
One of the Nobel prize winners is Willian Kaelin at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston. Peter Ratcliffe is a physician-scientist at the University of Oxford, United States. The third one is Johns Hopkins University, Gregg Semenza, from Maryland.
The team of trios won the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award as well back in 2016.
The discovery of the three has proved quite beneficial. Moreover, many researchers are now using it to understand the adaption of the body to fewer oxygen levels. Like some studied by cranking out red blood cells and growing some new blood vessels.
According to Swedish Academy people knew the importance of Oxygen for centuries. However, the way cells adapt changed in different levels of Oxygen was unknown till now.
Oxygen levels can vary in our bodies. It is mainly when we exercise, or are at high altitude and get an injury that disturbs the circulation of blood. Cells have to adapt the metabolism real quick when the level drops.
Wondering why that matters?
The ability of cells to sense Oxygen plays a crucial role in different m=body mechanisms. It has its role in the immune system as well as in the development of a fetus and placenta.
The production of RBCs can be triggered; hence, drug mimicking it can be helpful to treat anemia.
Also, the tumor can hijack the process of creating new blood vessels. The rug reversing it can be helpful for the treatment of cancer.
The trios truly deserved the Nobel prize, said Dr. Andrew Murray from the University of Cambridge.