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Nobel Prize for Cambridge hypoxia expert

Tuesday October 8th, 2019

A British academic has been named as one of three researchers awarded, jointly, this year's Nobel Prize for medicine.

Sir Peter Ratcliffe, of Cambridge University, has played a key role in discovering how cells sense and adapt to changing oxygen availability, according to the Nobel Prize committee.

He is awarded the prize with Professor William Kaelin, of Harvard University, USA, and Professor Gregg Semenza, of Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, USA.

According to the Nobel Prize committee, the three have paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anaemia, cancer and other diseases.

Sir Peter is the 108th Nobel prizewinner from Cambridge University, where he has spent his career and where he graduated in medicine in 1972.

Dr Andrew Murray, from the university's department of physiology, development and neuroscience, said: "Oxygen is fundamental to animal life, allowing our mitochondria to extract energy from the food we eat. The work of Kaelin, Ratcliffe and Semenza revealed the elegant mechanisms by which our cells sense oxygen levels and respond to fluctuations, enhancing the delivery of oxygen to the tissues of the body and altering our metabolism.

“Since the first reports of the hypoxia inducible factors appeared in the early 1990s, we have come to realise the vital role they play in our everyday physiology, in allowing humans to live at high altitude and in countless biomedical scenarios.

"Hypoxia is a feature of many diseases including heart failure, chronic lung disease and many cancers. The work of these three scientists and their teams has paved the way to a greater understanding of these common, life-threatening conditions and new strategies to treat them."

Tags: Cancer | Heart Health | North America | Respiratory | UK News

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