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Former Kidney Research UK trustee wins prestigious Nobel Prize

08 October 2019

Congratulations to Professor Sir Peter Ratcliffe, a former trustee of ours who has won one of the most prestigious awards in science - the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

Peter Ratcliffe

Leading nephrologist Sir Peter, who works at the University of Oxford and Francis Crick Institute,  together with William Kaelin of Harvard, and Gregg Semenza of John Hopkins University, received the prize for their work discovering how cells sense and adapt to oxygen levels – a process called oxygen sensing.

Previously known for his work in transplantation and acute kidney failure, Sir Peter received funding from us in the 1980s. This enabled him to change the direction of his research toward oxygen sensing. His work studying the gene affecting the production of the erythropoietin (EPO) hormone in the kidney and his subsequent studies contributed to the widespread use of manufactured EPO, which has already made a significant difference to managing anaemia in kidney patients and their quality of life.

The Swedish Academy, which awards the Nobel Prize, commended the researchers for their huge advances in understanding how cells adapt to changes in levels of oxygen. This could have vastly wide-ranging implications, including for improving the treatment of anaemia further, or even helping to develop drugs to halt cancer.

“We are delighted that the charity has played a part in both Sir Peter’s career and the huge advances he and colleagues have made in this vital area,” commented Michael Nation, director of research development at Kidney Research UK. “His achievements have far-reaching importance for numerous conditions. We send our very best wishes and congratulations to him and his colleagues.”

Read more about the achievements of Sir Peter and his colleagues here:

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