Ludwig Cancer Research congratulates Sir Peter Ratcliffe on his receipt of the 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. The Lasker awards are among the most prestigious given to researchers. Over the past seven decades, 87 recipients of the award have gone on to win a Nobel Prize.
A Member of the Oxford Branch of the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Peter shares the award with William Kaelin of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Gregg Semenza of the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. The researchers are recognized for their elucidation of the mechanisms by which cells gauge and respond to the availability of oxygen, processes of fundamental importance to sustaining life that also play a role in disorders ranging from cancer to heart disease. Many tumors, for example, are profoundly starved of oxygen, and the phenomenon is associated in patients with resistance to therapy and adverse prognoses.
Peter, a nephrologist by training, is recognized for his contribution to elucidating the signaling circuitry and distinct biochemical mechanisms of the oxygen response. He and his colleagues deciphered how hypoxia inducible factor-1—a master regulator of gene expression that plays a central role in oxygen sensing—is uniquely activated, and then unraveled the complex signaling networks that orchestrate such responses.
We honor Peter’s landmark contributions to biology and medicine and have every confidence that his discoveries and ongoing studies will advance efforts to conquer cancer and many other illnesses of high relevance to public health.