Three scientists including Dr. Gregg L. Semenza, of John Hopkins University, have been awarded a prestigious medical honor for their research which led to new treatments for diabetes, cardiovascular illness, and other current conditions.
Dr. Gregg L. Semenza, of John Hopkins University, was part of a three individuals organization that found a process essential to survival, how the body retains sufficient oxygen levels at a cellular point. The body needs oxygen to extract energy from food, but whenever the organism has too little or too much oxygen, it causes troubles.
It is why our body has evolved in a way that it now knows how to maintain the right amount of oxygen. The HIF-1 protein discovered by Semenza turns on specific genes when the levels of oxygen are low. The breakthrough from the 1990s proved that the protein uses the activation of the gene as a defense system against low oxygen levels.
Another sign of low oxygen levels could be considered a clogged artery which means that this innovative idea could be used to treat individuals with cardiovascular conditions. Moreover, vessels in the legs tend to be blocked when diabetes is involved. It could lead to gangrene that usually means amputation of the leg. The protein discovered by Semenza could also be used to treat similar conditions.
The prize that was won by the three scientists is recognized as a stepping stone to winning the Nobel Prize.
The manager of vascular projects at the Johns Hopkins University for Cell Engineering, Semenza, is among seven other winners of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards.
After the award for the Lasker prize, 88 individuals have won the Nobel Prize. Seen as one of the most significant biomedical science credits, the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award was conceived by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation in the year 1946. The award also comes with a $250,000 reward which will be announced on the 23rd of September in New York.
The leader of the Lasker Foundation, Claire Pomeroy, mentioned that this prize describes the result of rigorous and new medical analysis and ideas and also the commitment of the honorees.
Semenza believes that HIF-1 could also be used to treat breast cancer, and he is currently making further tests which will prove his theory.
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