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Three share 2011 Nobel in medicine

The Local/dl · 3 Oct 2011, 11:21

Published: 03 Oct 2011 11:21 GMT+02:00

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The prize was divided, with one half going jointly to Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann "for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity" and the other half to the late Ralph M. Steinman "for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity".

The three scientists together have “revolutionized our understanding of the immune system”, according to a statement from The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet through research unlocking secrets about how people's bodies fight off diseases.

Beutler, an American currently at the Scripps Research Institute in California and Jules Hoffmann, a Luxembourg-born scientist who spent most of his career in France, discovered receptor proteins that can recognize such microorganisms and activate innate immunity, the first step in the body's immune response.

Meanwhile, Steinman a Canadian affiliated with Rockefeller University in New York, discovered the dendritic cells of the immune system and their unique capacity to activate and regulate adaptive immunity, the later stage of the immune response during which microorganisms are cleared from the body.

Steinman died last weekend of cancer, according to a report in the Canadian press, with the news only reaching the Nobel Committee after the award had been announced.

While much about the immune system has been learned over the course of the 20th century, prior to the work of the three scientists, the mechanisms triggering the activation of innate immunity and mediating the communication between innate and adaptive immunity remained a mystery.

Together, the discoveries "provided novel insights into the activation and regulation of our immune system", according to the Nobel Committee.

Story continues below…

"They have made possible the development of new methods for preventing and treating disease, for instance with improved vaccines against infections and in attempts to stimulate the immune system to attack tumors."

In addition, the discoveries have increased understanding as to why the immune system can "attack our own tissues", information which offers clues for new treatments of inflammatory diseases.

The Local/dl (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

15:00 October 3, 2011 by jacquelinee
Hurray for Luxembourg, The USA and Canada! Hopefully the work of these great reearchers will help in finding a cure for immune related diseases such as Aids.
00:17 October 4, 2011 by wolfbay
I'm glad the Nobels are not awarded in America. There would be great pressure for" affirmative action" based on gender and race. Two out of the three were Jews- those pesky trouble makers.Impressive the Swedes awarded it to them. Malmo must have no input.
02:01 October 4, 2011 by shahislam
Infoseeker: for your honour.

Violent means are ugly!

The top leaders sometimes have no choice but to act foolish or real mean to please some and survive and then, try to balance things! There is no alternative in the system of capitalism where money (not morality) operates the main switch of power. But the good news is: sense of morality works perfectly on smaller powers; this happens through the silent balancing acts of cosmic rules, I sometime talk about.

I commented in the Washington Post today as follows:

Even if any of the terrorist-US-citizens was captured, he (al-Awlaki) /she wouldn't be receiving anything less than suspended death penalty. However, as an only option, killing of a proved killer for belief-blind or what so ever reasons is unavoidable!

It will be a wastage of time to argue on what is justified by common sense!

Moreover, for the religious guys there is nothing for them to argue about because crusading-minded guys killed in wars, straight head for paradisaical-life after death; so, being killed is a blessing to those who want to live in heaven after death!

About Ivory Coast: This Gbagbo, if option of amnesty was honestly given by impartial UN, would not surrender willingly, therefore, should receive suspended death penalty. There are many mentally retarded stupids in 'Tiger-like powers' in many countries and a newer UN can only help replace these idiots in slow evolutionary -type revolutions.

(Suspended death sentences for inhuman war crime-committing world-leaders mean when found guilty they have serve in the UN's front line of fights against insurgents and slow implementation of such noble ideas is possible by human push too.)

Same will be the situation about Gaddafi and many others to be followed later, if slow transition may continue undisturbed.

I am sure, many cannot even guess where Obama's success is coming from, in the midst of similar conditions where Bushes failed!

God bless us all and we continue to be less worried and more happy!
06:24 October 5, 2011 by mkvgtired
@shahislam, Way off topic. This is about an award going to people researching how to save lives.

It is very sad that one of the researchers died one week before getting this award. This would have probably been one of his proudest moments. A Nobel prize for science is a HUGE deal. Truly sad, but I am sure it will help his grieving family realize how much he changed this world for the better. Oddly enough, fighting the same disease that killed him.

Good luck to the remaining researchers in their work.
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