The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine was awarded to Dr. William G. Kaelin, Jr., Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Dr. Gregg L. Semenza for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. The Gairdner Foundation congratulates these laureates on this well-deserved honour.
These three laureates received the 2010 Canada Gairdner International Award for identification of molecular mechanisms of oxygen sensing in the cell. They are the 90th, 91st and 92nd laureates to go on to receive the Nobel after a Gairdner. Sir Peter Ratcliffe also serves on our Medical Advisory Board which chooses our Gairdner International laureates.
Their research identified how cells in the body monitor and respond to changes in oxygen levels. This paved the way to therapies that manipulate oxygen on a cellular level, for example, by improving the supply of oxygen in people with diseases of the heart and circulation, or cutting off the supply of oxygen that cancer needs to progress.