Medical News and Perspectives
November 9, 2011

Nobel Prize Honors Immunity Researchers

JAMA. 2011;306(18):1966-1967. doi:10.1001/jama.2011.1624

Three scientists whose work has revolutionized the understanding of how the immune system is activated and regulated have been awarded the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for 2011. Their work is pointing to new methods of preventing and treating infections, cancer, and inflammatory diseases.

Jules A. Hoffmann, PhD, of the University of Strasbourg, France, and Bruce Beutler, MD, of the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, were honored for their discoveries of how receptor proteins activate the innate immune system, the immune system's rapid and immediate response against invading pathogens. Ralph Steinman, MD, of Rockefeller University in New York City, was recognized for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity, the slower but longer-lived response of the immune system.