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How cells sense oxygen wins Nobel Prize for Medicine

Three scientists who discovered how cells sense and adapt to oxygen levels have won the 2019 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine, the BBC reports.

Our body’s cells use oxygen to convert food into usable energy.

The trio – British Sir Peter Ratcliffe and two Americans, William Kaelin and Gregg Semenza – discovered how cells adapt when oxygen levels drop.

The Swedish Academy said their “elegant” findings were leading to treatments for anaemia and even cancer.

It said: “The fundamental importance of oxygen has been understood for centuries, but how cells adapt to changes in levels of oxygen has long been unknown.”

Sir Peter Ratcliffe is based at the Francis Crick Institute in the UK, William Kaelin at Harvard in the US and Gregg Semenza at Johns Hopkins University in the US.

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