Immune system scientists given Nobel Prize for medicine

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The 2011 Nobel Prize for medicine has gone to three scientists for their research into the human immune system. According to the Nobel Assembly at Swed...

The 2011 Nobel Prize for medicine has gone to three scientists for their research into the human immune system.

According to the Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute- the awarding body of the Nobel Prize for medicine or physiology – the work carried out by Bruce Beutler, Jules Hoffmann and Ralph Steinman “revolutionised” the understanding of the immune system.

“This year’s Nobel Laureates have revolutionised our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation,” it noted.

The statement also said: “Their work has opened up new avenues for the development of prevention and therapy against infections, cancer and inflammatory disease.”

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Hoffman and Beutler will share half of the 10 million kroner prize, which is the equivalent to $1.5 million, with the other half going to Steinman.

According to the Assembly, Canadian-born Steinman was credited with the accolade for “his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity,” which came in 1973.

Meanwhile, French researcher Hoffman and American scientist Beutler were honoured “for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity,” which were made in 1996 and 1998 respectively.

The announcement of the Nobel Prize for medicine is traditionally the first of the awards given each year, and will be followed later in the week by the prizes for physics, chemistry, literature, economics and peace.

The 2010 Nobel Prize for medicine was given to Robert Edwards for his research into fertility which subsequently led to the first ever test tube baby. 

The 2011 Nobel Prize for medicine

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