Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded for discovery of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen | Science| In-depth reporting on science and technology | DW | 07.10.2019
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Nobel Prize for Medicine awarded for discovery of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen

William Kaelin, Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine for their discovery of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.

US-born scientists William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza, along with British scientist Peter Ratcliffe, have won this year's Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to the availability of oxygen, Sweden's Karolinska Institute announced on Monday.

"The seminal discoveries by this year's Nobel laureates revealed the mechanism for one of life's most essential adaptive processes," the Nobel Assembly said.

Read more: Nobel Prize for Medicine winners uncover 'a fundamental mechanism of life'

Nobel Assembly member, Randall Johnson (R), announces the winners of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine (L-R) Gregg Semenza of the US, Peter Ratcliffe of Britain and William Kaelin of the US

2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine winners: Gregg Semenza, Peter Ratcliffe and William Kaelin

Their research, the institute added, "paved the way for promising new strategies to fight anemia, cancer and many other diseases."

In announcing the prize, Thomas Perlmann, the secretary of the Nobel Committee at the Karolinska Institute, said the work by this year's laureates has "greatly expanded our knowledge of how physiological response makes life possible." 

Monday's announcement is the 110th time the prize in this category has been awarded since 1901.

Of the 219 individuals who have been awarded the medicine Nobel, only 12 have been women. 

Infographic showing Medicine Nobel Prize winners 1901-2019 by gender

Looking ahead

Medicine is the first of the Nobel Prizes awarded each year.

On Tuesday, the prize for physics is awarded, followed by chemistry on Wednesday.

The 2018 and 2019 prizes for literature will be announced on Thursday. For the first time in 70 years, last year's award was postponed as the institution found itself without a quorum to decide the winner.

Infographic showing the top 10 countries with Nobel Prize laureates in medicine from 1901-2019

Read more: 3 things we can do with the 2018 medicine Nobel Prize

On Friday, the scene moves to Oslo, Norway, where the 2019 Nobel Peace Prize will be announced.

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has been tipped as a possible winner of this year's peace prize.

The 2019 Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel will be announced on October 14.

The prizes in each category carry a purse of 9 million kroner ($918,00, €813,151) for each full Nobel award, a gold medal and a diploma. The medals will be presented at a ceremony on December 10, the anniversary of Alfred Nobel's death in 1896.

jlw/dr (dpa, Reuters, AFP, AP)


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