Two Americans And One Brit Win The Nobel Prize In Medicine

Swedish industrialist Alfred Nobel put the bulk of his fortune in a trust before he died in 1896. His trust became the source for the money Nobel prize winners receive for outstanding achievements in science and literature.

Reclusive Nobel was a complex individual, but he was a courteous dinner host with a keen wit. He was a pacifist who led a simple life even though he invented dynamite and other powerful explosives. Alfred died before the turn of the 20th century, but his name lives on every year when Nobel Prize winners travel to Stockholm or Oslo and receive a check for $918,000, a gold medal, and international recognition.

Two American doctors and one British physician won the Nobel Prize in Medicine this year, reports CBS News. Gregg L. Semenza of Johns Hopkins University, William G. Kaelin Jr. of Harvard Medical School, and Peter J. Ratcliffe of Oxford University and the Francis Crick Institute in Britain won the prize this year for discovering how cells sense oxygen and how they adapt to oxygen’s availability in the body.

Our cells often encounter low oxygen levels due to high altitude living and from wounds that mess up the local blood supply. The cells react to low levels of oxygen by generating new blood vessels, producing more red blood cells, and enhancing the immune system.

Thanks to these three scientists, other scientists can focus on creating new drugs to treat different diseases by suppressing the oxygen-sensing equipment in the body or by activating that internal machinery, according to the Nobel committee. These new drugs will be able to attack cancer cells. Plus, the new drugs can boost the production of red blood cells which appear in people with chronic kidney issues. According to Dr. Kaelin, one new drug that has the ability to boost red blood cell production got the green light for use in Japan and China. U.S. approval for the same drug is not far away, according to Kaelin.

Dr. Kaelin told the press his discovery also targets strokes and heart attacks and an internal condition that reduces blood flow to the arms and legs. Dr. Ratcliff, a kidney specialist, said the cells in the kidneys aren’t the only cells in the body that sense oxygen. Ratcliffe said there are thousands of processes the body uses to regulate and then adapt to different oxygen levels in the cells. Ratcliff claims all the body cells sense oxygen. Sensing oxygen is a function of the body’s consciousness, according to the prize winners.