Photo taken on Oct. 7, 2019 shows the announcement of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, Oct. 7, 2019. The prize was awarded jointly to William G. Kaelin Jr, Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza "for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability," said the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute. (Xinhua/Zheng Huansong)
STOCKHOLM, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- Three scientists have shared 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, the Nobel committee announced here on Monday.
The prize has been awarded jointly to William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza "for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability," said the Nobel assembly at the Karolinska Institute.
Thomas Perlmann, secretary-general of the Nobel Committee and the Nobel Assembly, told a press conference that he was able to reach all three laureates, and they were "really happy, almost speechless and happy to share the prize."
Animals need oxygen for the conversion of food into useful energy. The fundamental importance of oxygen has been understood for centuries, but how cells adapt to changes in levels of oxygen has long been unknown, said a press release.
Oxygen sensing is central to a large number of diseases. The discoveries made by this year's laureates have fundamental importance for physiology and have paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and many other diseases, according to the committee.
The three scientists have identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen, the committee said.
"The significance of the discovery is the basic science finding really, but it is one that impacts everyday life very broadly," Randall Johnson from the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine told Xinhua.
Kaelin, born in New York, is an Investigator of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute since 1998. Semenza, also born New York, is the Director of the Vascular Research Program at the Johns Hopkins Institute for Cell Engineering since 2003. Ratcliffe is the Director of Clinical Research at Francis Crick Institute, London, Director for Target Discovery Institute in Oxford and Member of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research.
This year's prize is 9 million Swedish krona (about 1 million U.S. dollars), which will be equally shared among three laureates.