Nobel Prize laureate to present findings at Rogel Cancer Center Grand Rounds on Nov. 11

November 8, 2019  //  FOUND IN: Updates & Resources

Nobel laureate Gregg Semenza, M.D., Ph.D., of Johns Hopkins University is scheduled to present his lecture, Hypoxia-Inducible Factors Promote Immune Evasion by Cancer Cells at noon on Monday, Nov. 11 in Ford Auditorium. 

Semenza, along with two others, was awarded the 2019 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for research on the effect of low oxygen on human cells. Semenza’s studies and findings have the opportunity to aid in the treatment of a variety of illnesses, including cancer. 

“I would say the most immediate applications are going to be in two areas, one in anemia… and for targeting HIF-1 in the inhibition of cancer. And I think there will be many cancers where having a drug that blocks HIF-1, added on to the other drugs the patient is receiving, will allow those other drugs to be more effective in fighting cancer,” Semenza said in a video released by the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.

His discovery in 1995 of HIF-1’s effect on cells has led to his reputation as the foremost expert in how cells react and adapt to low oxygen levels. HIF-1 is a transcription factor that controls genes involved in energy manufacturing, the generation of new red blood cells and the growth of new blood vessels. 

“The Nobel Prize committee has recognized important work that gives us a greater understanding of a fundamental physiological and pathological mechanism,” said Weiping Zou, M.D., Ph.D., co-leader of the cancer hematopoiesis and immunology program at the Rogel Cancer Center. “Dr. Semenza has identified molecular machinery that regulates the activity of genes in response to varying levels of oxygen, with implications for many diseases including cancer.”

At Johns Hopkins, Semenza serves as a professor of pediatrics, radiation oncology and molecular radiation sciences, biological chemistry, medicine and oncology. He is also the C. Michael Armstrong Professor of Pediatrics and serves as the director of the vascular program at the Institute for Cell Engineering.

Semenza’s lecture is part of the Rogel Cancer Center’s ongoing Grand Rounds series featuring cancer researchers from across the country and here at Michigan Medicine. These lectures are open to all members of the Michigan Medicine community. See you there!

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