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Kaelin, William George, Jr.

Kaelin, William George, Jr., 1957–, American oncologist, b. New York City, M.D. Duke Univ., 1982. He has spent his entire career at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Mass., and also is a professor (since 2002) at Harvard Medical School and a physician at Brigham and Women's Hospital. Kaelin, who studies tumor biology and tumor suppressor proteins, was the joint recipient, with Sir Peter Ratcliffe and Gregg Semenza, of the 2019 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The three identified the molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen, showing how the body senses and responds to oxygen levels and laying the foundation for promising new treatments for such diseases as anemia, stroke, infection, cancer, and heart attack. Kaelin's work focused on a form of cancer in which a mutation leads to an overproduction of erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone involved in the body's ability to respond to low oxygen levels in the blood. His work identifed a protein complex that helps regulate the level of hypoxia-inducible factor (HIF), which switches on genes that produce EPO.

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