Laboratory Test Directory


Code

Name



The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to three physician-scientists for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.

2019-10-14 06:00:00


Nobel Prize: How 2019's winners are revolutionizing medicine

 

Viswanath Pilla

 

The 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to three physician-scientists for their discoveries of how cells sense and adapt to oxygen availability.

The three scientists are William Kaelin, a cancer researcher at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts; Peter Ratcliffe, a physician-scientist at the University of Oxford, UK and the Francis Crick Institute in London; and Gregg Semenza, a geneticist at Johns Hopkins University, Maryland.

The team also won the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in 2016.

What exactly is their work that got Nobel Prize?

Much like a fireplace, our cells use oxygen combining with carbon to release energy.

Cells cannot store oxygen, so they require a constant supply.  Oxygen is carried by red blood cells.  If red blood cells are deficient, oxygen transport fails and cells die, leading to brain damage and death.

Interestingly, our body has a mechanism to sense low oxygen levels or hypoxia and increase red blood cell production.

The oxygen sensor is located in the kidney.  When deprived of oxygen, the kidney secretes a protein called erythropoietin (EPO) that travels to the bone marrow where it stimulates production of new red blood cells.  (Patients with kidney failure or on chemotherapy are given erythropoietin injections to boost their red blood cell count.)

But, the three scientists working in tandem demystified how kidney cells activate the EPO gene in response to oxygen deficiency and switch off the activation when oxygen supply is sufficient.

Unraveling the oxygen sensor

It was clear from the beginning that there must be a protein that activates EPO. The protein must bind to a piece of DNA near the gene called an enhancer.

Semenza identified the enhancer. He used the enhancer to purify the transcription factor and he named it hypoxia inducible factor or HIF. The transcription factors are proteins involved in the process of converting, or transcribing, DNA into RNA.

He found that the amount of HIF increases when cells are deprived of oxygen. HIF enters the nucleus where it activates the EPO gene.

Ratcliffe and Kaelin identified another protein, called VHL, responsible for destroying that protein (HIF) when oxygen levels are high, and so, together, the work of the three prizewinners reveals a molecular switch for responding to oxygen levels.

Ratcliffe and Kaelin explained that VHL binds to amino acids on HIF that have oxygen atoms attached to them. If these amino acids lack oxygen, VHL cannot destroy HIF and HIF will live to activate EPO. What attaches oxygen to HIF? There must be an enzyme. The two scientists have found the enzymes dioxygenases. Put together they have solved an important scientific puzzle.

If was found that HIF activates 200 other genes.

How will this be useful?

The discovery of oxygen-sensing pathway has huge implications in treating several diseases. It helps us understand about the diseases such as cancers that proliferate using the oxygen-sensing system to grow tumors and chronic kidney disease that leads to anemia.

Armed with this knowledge, pharmaceutical companies are developing drugs that can either suppress or activate this oxygen-sensing machinery.

The Chinese have went first by developing a drug called Roxadustat, to treatment of patients with kidney cancer.

The drug works by inhibiting or suppresses HIF.

The drug developed by FibroGen China has received approval in China for the treatment of anaemia caused by chronic kidney disease (CKD).

There are similar drugs that are now under development aiming to treat patients with heart disease and lung cancer who struggle with hypoxia. More experimental drugs are under development to prevent tumour growth in some cancers by choking oxygen supply.

Source

https://www.moneycontrol.com/news/business/explainer-how-these-nobel-prize-2019-winners-are-set-to-revolutionise-medicine-4522431.html



Make a Payment

To make our medical lab services easier to use we now offer a secure online payment service.

Home Visit Requisition Form

To request a home care services or to obtain more information on Accu reference medical lab, please complete an Home Visit Requisition Form

Career Opportunities

We are always interested in expanding our professional team. If you'd like to be considered for a position, send us your resume

E-Forms

This section contains e-forms. The forms may be printed and mailed or faxed.


Find a Location

East Orange Patient Service Center
108 South Munn Ave, East Orange, NJ 07018
Phone: (862) 233-6611
Hours:

10:00 AM-5:00 PM


Glassboro Patient Service Center
359 N Main Street, Glassboro, NJ 08028
Phone: (856) 881-5320
Hours:

7:30 AM-3:30 PM


Irvington Patient Service Center
40 Union Avenue, Suite 205, Irvington, NJ 07111
Phone: (862) 231-6223
Hours:

9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
CLOSED THURSDAYS AND WEEKENDS


Jersey City Patient Service Center
709 Newark Ave 2nd Floor, Jersey City, NJ 07036
Phone: (201) 222-0178
Hours:

9:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Linden Patient Service Center
1901 East Linden Avenue, Unit 25, Linden, NJ 07036
Phone: (908) 474-1004
Hours:

8:00 AM - 2:00 PM
CLOSED WEEKENDS


Somerset Patient Service Center
1553 Rt.27, Somerset, NJ 08873
Phone: (609) 528-9199
Hours:

9:00 AM - 6:00 PM
CLOSED WEEKENDS



Stamford Patient Service Center
111 High Ridge Road, First Floor, Stamford, CT 06905
Phone: (908) 583-6607
Fax: (908)224-9700
Hours:

9:00 AM - 3:00 PM

CLOSED WEDNESDAY, WEEKENDS



Baltimore Patient Service Center
3455 Wilkins Avenue, Suite L10-A, Baltimore, MD 21229
Phone: (410) 644-0075
Hours:

9:00 AM-3:39 PM


Brooklyn Patient Service Center
5908 5th Avenue, Suite 6, Brooklyn, NY 11220
Phone: (718) 439-8200
Hours:

9:00 AM-5:00 PM


Chappaqua Service Center
175 King Street, Chappaqua, NY 10514
Phone: (914)861-2439
Fax: (914)861-2440
Hours:

Monday, Wednesday 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM

Thursday, Friday       8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

CLOSED TUESDAY, WEEKENDS

 


New Hyde Park Patient Service Center
1575 Hillside Avenue, New Hyde Park, NY 11040
Phone: (516) 500-1047
Hours:

7:30 AM-4:00 PM



Medical Drive Patient Service Center
1314 Medical drive, Suite 101, Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: N/A
Hours:

8:30 AM-4:30 PM


Payetteville Patient Service Center I
1905 Skibo Road, Suite 101, Fayetteville, NC 28314
Phone: (910) 867-7071
Hours:

9:00 AM-6:00 PM


Walter Reed Patient Service Center
1220 Walter Reed Road, Suite A, Fayetteville, NC 28304
Phone: (910) 491-1956
Hours:

7:00 AM - 4:00 PM



Bangor Patient Service Center
225 Erdman Avenue, Bangor, PA 18013
Phone: (610) 452-9174
Hours:

7:00 AM- 3:00 PM


Hazelton Patient Service Center
101 South Church Street, Hazelton, PA 18704
Phone: (570) 455-0747
Hours:

8:00 AM - 4:00 PM


Kingston Patient Service Center
517 Pierce Street, Kingston, PA 18704
Phone: (570) 283-0674
Hours:

7:00 AM - 3:00 PM


Nanticoke Patient Service Center
233 South Prospect Street, Nanticoke, PA 18634
Phone: (570) 735-2626
Hours:

7:00 AM - 1:00 PM



Conlin Patient Service Center
4420 Conlin Street, Ste#100, Metairie, LA 70006
Phone: (504) 302-2035
Hours:

8:00 AM - 5:00 PM


Saxon Patient Service Center
4213 Saxon Street, Metairie, LA 70006
Phone: (504) 779-8163
Hours:

7:00 AM - 4:00 PM


West Bank Patient Service Center
1799 Stumpf blvd, Gretna, LA 70056
Phone: (504) 301-1817
Hours:

N/A



Have questions or need assistance? Call (877) 733-4522