Nobel and Lasker Prizes

Many years ago we posted an article on autophagy – the process by which cells reutilise their basic components. We cited research showing that a borderline starvation diet is associated with greater longevity in all species where it has been tried.[1] Intense exercise is also associated with widespread health benefits and prolonged life. Autophagy provides a link between these two sets of observations, since both calorie restriction and exercise induce and accelerate autophagy. News Blog readers will therefore be interested to learn that this year’s Nobel prizes for Medicine and Physiology was awarded for the discovery of the mechanisms for autophagy, originally in yeast, by Prof Yoshinori Ohsumi.

The Lasker award for Basic Medical Research went to the three researchers, one from Oxford, who discovered molecular pathways through which changes in oxygen levels provoke a response in cells. It turns out that mechanisms to sense and respond to ambient oxygen levels are present in all cells, not just those that manufacture erythropoietin. This story is quite complex, and readers are referred to a recent article in JAMA.[2]

— Richard Lilford, CLAHRC WM Director


  1. Colman RJ, Anderson RM, Johnson SC, et al. Caloric restriction delays disease onset and mortality in rhesus monkeys. Science. 2009; 325: 201-4.
  2. Kaelin Jr WG, Ratcliffe PJ, Semenza GL. Pathways for Oxygen Regulation and Homeostasis. The 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. JAMA. 2016; 316(12): 1252-3.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s