The Nobel Prize in medicine was announced on Monday. Foxnews.com reported that American scientist Bruce Beutler and French scientist Jules Hoffmann split the prize money, 100 million-kronor (worth $1.5 million dollars) with Canadian-born scientist Ralph Steinman.
"This year's Nobel laureates have revolutionized our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation," the award panel at Sweden's Karolinska Institute said in a statement in Stockholm, reported MSNBC.com.
All three of the scientists' work helped to create vaccines which would help the body’s immune system to fight off infectious diseases and even some cancers. NPR.org reported that the work of Hoffmann and Beutler focused more on the discovery that when infections enter the body, there are receptor proteins that can detect the bacteria and alert the immune system to start the defense in the body. NPR.org also reported that Steinman discovered dendritic cells in the immune system. These cells help the immune system to respond to the infections or harmful bacteria that have entered the body.
A Winner Dies Right Before the Announcement
CNN.com reported that Ralph Steinman died last Friday at the age of sixty-eight. Steinman was a biologist at Rockefeller University. The university told CNN.com, “He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago, and his life was extended using a dendritic-cell based immunotherapy of his own design.”
Usually Nobel prizes are not given out to a person who has passed away. Nobel committee member Goran Hansson told USAToday.com, “the Nobel committee didn’t know Steinman was dead when it chose him as a winner and was looking through its regulations.”
The Nobel Medicine Prize Starts the Award Announcements
The announcement of the Nobel Prize in medicine starts off the week and more are to follow. CNN.com reports that on Tuesday the committee will announce the winner for physics. The chemistry award winner will be announced on Wednesday. CNN.com also reported that, this Friday the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced, followed by the announcement of the economics winner on October 10th.
Photo by Khamis Hammoudeh.