Three Scientists Awarded Noble Prizes for their Discovery of Oxygen-Sensing Mechanism Inside Cells

Three Scientists Awarded Noble Prizes for their Discovery of Oxygen-Sensing Mechanism Inside Cells

Two Americans and one British scientist today received a Nobel Prize for advanced research in physiology and medicine. In their research, they discovered how the body cells start reacting to low oxygen levels in the body.

The findings have shown fruitful results as new treatments for several diseases could now be formed, such as for anemia and cancer.

Treating deadly diseases in a safer manner

The three members Peter J. Ratcliffe, Dr. William G. Kaelin of Harvard Medical School and Dana –Farber Cancer Institute, and Gregg L. Semenza of Johns Hopkins University of Francis Crick Institute in Britain, received a Noble Prize at Oxford University.

According to the information by Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, all three of them will share their cash price which is $918,000.

The judges say that the researchers have revealed the most essential mechanisms of life. With high altitudes, there are several reasons which can cause low oxygen levels in the body. Wounds can also disrupt the blood supply. This stimulates the formation of more red blood corpuscles and blood vessels.

Researchers specifically worked on drugs that could treat deadly diseases by further stimulating or deactivating the mechanism of sensing oxygen.

People with severe kidney disease usually have anemia. The research can help produce such pills which will increase the production of red blood cells.

READ ALSO – Iron-Rich Diet for Anemia Patients.

Kaelin explains how one type of drug is currently being used in Japan and China and will now soon be accepted in the United States of America.

Other things that the pills target include a heart attack, a stroke, and reduced blood flow to the limbs. Although researchers have developed such drugs, they need years and years to see if this will help the thousands of people who are under such issues.

Reactions by scientists on receiving Nobel Prize call

Kaelin, who is 61 was in deep sleep when he received a call about his award. He explains how he was in pure shock when his phone rang at 5 in the morning. After checking out that the call was from Stockholm, he was astonished.

Ratcliffe who is 65 received the news from his secretary, who was eager to inform him of the award. He explains that he and the other two researchers began the work after a question hit their mind, which was, how do the cells sense oxygen?

Their research began in 1990 and two years before they realized how their research holds great significance. They discovered it is not only the kidney cells that sense oxygen levels but the cells of our whole body that are involved in this.

Semenza who is 63 missed the first call of the Nobel committee but was able to attend the second one. He explains that this might be the first award-based drug that will make chemotherapy a more functional method of treating kidney cancer. He hopes that this drug will bring positive results for other cancers too in the future.

Semenza praises his biology teacher, Rose Nelson, who motivated him and kept on reminding him that if he wins the Nobel Prize at any moment in his life, he should remember that the base was set by her. He appreciates the importance and motivation given by a teacher.

The most amazing thing about the research is the similarity of the oxygen sensing mechanism found in worms and humans.

The announcement on Monday made this year remarkable for everyone. The Nobel committee will award the physics, chemistry and literature prizes on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday respectively, while the committee will announce the Peace Prize award on Friday.

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As a graduate of Public Health and Policy, Andrea developed an interest in disease development, food and safety and the latest advancements in health. She is a Freelance writer who had affiliations with multiple blogs. Andrea is now pursuing her post-doctorate in Behavioral Sciences.

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