The 2011 Nobel Prize for Medicine has gone to three researchers for their work on the immune system.
One-half of the prize money will go 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.”
The three scientists have “revolutionized our understanding of the immune system,” said a statement from the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, 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 micro-organisms and activate initial immunity.
Steinman, a Canadian 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 micro-organisms are cleared from the body, said the statement.