The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2011 was divided, one half jointly to Bruce A. Beutler and Jules A. Hoffmann “for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity” and the other half to Ralph M. Steinman “for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity”.

Nobelist Born Affiliation at the time of the award
Bruce A. Beutler 29 December 1957, Chicago, IL, USA University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas, Dallas, TX, USA, The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, CA, USA
Jules A. Hoffmann 2 August 1941, Echternach, Luxembourg University of Strasbourg, Strasbourg, France
Ralph M. Steinman Born: 14 January 1943, Montreal, Canada

Died: 30 September 2011

Rockefeller University, New York, NY, USA


This year’s Nobel Laureates have revolutionized our understanding of the immune system by discovering key principles for its activation.

Scientists have long been searching for the gatekeepers of the immune response by which man and other animals defend themselves against attack by bacteria and other microorganisms. Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffmann discovered receptor proteins that can recognize such microorganisms and activate innate immunity, the first step in the body’s immune response. Ralph Steinman 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.

The discoveries of the three Nobel Laureates have revealed how the innate and adaptive phases of the immune response are activated and thereby provided novel insights into disease mechanisms. Their work has opened up new avenues for the development of prevention and therapy against infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases.

More details, please click The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.


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