EU-funded scientist among Nobel Prize winners in Physiology or Medicine

The Commission is proud to announce that one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe, had received EU funding for his research projects. Along with William G. Kaelin Jr and Gregg L. Semenza, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2019 for his discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability. These discoveries pave the way for new ways to fight anaemia, cancer and other diseases. Carlos Moedas, Commissioner for Research, Science and Innovation, said: “I warmly congratulate William G. Kaelin Jr, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe and Gregg L. Semenza on their achievement.  I am proud to say that EU funding has supported one of this year’s Nobel Prize laureates to gain insights into how cells adapt to changes in oxygen levels, which is key to fighting a large number of diseases facing our society.”  Representing the University of Oxford, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe participated in the EU-funded EUROXY project, which was targeting oxygen-sensing cascades for novel cancer treatments. This collaborative project, which received €8 million from the EU’s Sixth Framework Programme for science and research (FP6), focused on identifying adaptive pathways of cancer cells and disrupting such mechanisms as a way to eradicate cancer. In 2008, Sir Peter J. Ratcliffe was awarded an Advanced Grant of €3 million from the European Research Council, together with Christopher J. Schofield, for a project that succeeded in providing a detailed structural and chemical characterisation of human hydroxylase enzymes and also led to the development of inhibitors of these enzymes. Modulating how cells respond to hypoxia could in the future be of therapeutic use in ischaemic disease and cancer.More information is available online.