• 02 OCT 11
    Dendritic Cell Scientist Wins Nobel Prize!

    Dendritic Cell Scientist Wins Nobel Prize!

    Dendritic Cell Scientist Wins Nobel Prize! Dendritic cell research got a boost when Ralph Steinman won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine.

    Sadly, Steinman did not live long enough to receive the Prize, he passed away just three days before the Nobel Prize was announced. In 1973 Ralph Steinman and Zanvil Cohn published the first paper describing the discovery of dendritic cells in the Journal of Experimental Medicine. Cohn died in 1993 at the age of 66. In the paper Steinman and Cohn wrote, “morphological observations, both in vivo and in vitro, indicate that these novel cells can assume a variety of branching forms, and constantly extend and retract many fine cell processes.

    The term “dendritic” cell would thus be appropriate for this particular cell type.” Since then, Steinman’s research was focused on this cell type.Initially dendritic cells were not given the due attention by immunologists. But research in this area of immunobiology gained momentum by early 1990s. Describing this “once neglected cell type,” Jacques Banchereau and Ralph Steinman wrote in Nature, in 1998, “Dendritic cells in the periphery capture and process antigens, express lymphocyte co-stimulatory molecules, migrate to lymphoid organs and secrete cytokines to initiate immune responses. They (dendritic cells) not only activate lymphocytes, they also tolerize T cells to antigens that are innate to the body (self-antigens), thereby minimizing autoimmune reactions.”

    Ralph Steinman

    Ralph Steinman,one of the recipients of the 2011
    Nobel Prize in Medicine