The 2019 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology was jointly awarded on 7 October 2019 to two Americans and a British scientist, namely William G. Kaelin Jr, Gregg L. Semenza, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, for their discoveries of “how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability”. “Oxygen sensing is central to a large number of diseases. The discoveries made by this year’s Nobel Prize laureates have fundamental importance for physiology and have paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anaemia, cancer and many other diseases.
- It is the 110th prize in the category that has been awarded since 1901. The Karolinska Institutet, which awards the Nobel Prize for Medicine, said that the trio should share equally the 9 million kronor (918,000 US Dollars) cash award.
- The jury said the trio had identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen, which is central to a large number of diseases.
- Kaelin works at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute in the US, while Semenza is director of the Vascular Research Program at the John Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering.
- Ratcliffe is director of clinical research at the Francis Crick Institute in London, and director of the Target Discovery Institute in Oxford. The three will share the Nobel prize sum of nine million Swedish kronor (about USD 914,000).
- They will receive their prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on December 10, the anniversary of the 1896 death of scientist Alfred Nobel who created the prizes in his last will and testament.
- Last year, the honour went to immunologists James Allison of the US and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, for figuring out how to release the immune system's brakes to allow it to attack cancer cells more efficiently.