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Winners of Nobel Prize in medicine tackled fundamental biology function

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Rebecca Valli

On Monday, the Nobel Committee awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize for Medicine to Drs. William G. Kaelin Jr., Gregg L. Semenza and Peter J. Ratcliffe for their work on oxygen levels and the body’s cells. 

Richard Cerione

professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University

Richard Cerione, professor of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University, studies cellular pathways that influence various biological outcomes, including cancer progression. He says the scientists’ findings have important implications for our understanding of cancer cells’ behavior.

“This is an exciting and an extremely well-deserved choice for this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine and Physiology. 

“The three investigators, Kaelin, Ratcliffe and Semenza, have made major contributions toward our understanding of the molecular basis on one of the most fundamentally important functions in biology, namely, how cells are able to sense and respond to oxygen.

“Their work has important implications for a number of aspects of human physiology including recovery from tissue damage, and in particular, how cancer cells within a tumor are able to survive stressful conditions and respond to their environment.”

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