Scientist dies days before winning Nobel prize; Receives Noble Posthumous

October 3, 2011

Scientist dies days before winning Nobel prize; Receives Noble Posthumous

The Nobel prize for medicine , to be shared by three researchers, was announced on Monday, American Bruce Beutler and French scientist Jules Hoffmann shared the 10 million-kronor ($1.5 million) award with Canadian-born Ralph Steinman, the Nobel committee at Stockholm’s Karolinska institute said.
What the Nobel Foundation did not know was that one of the winners, Ralph Steinman, had died of pancreatic cancer three days before Monday’s announcement. Steinman was honoured for “his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.

Nobel prizes are not awarded posthumously. Nobel committee member Goran Hansson said the committee didn’t know Steinman was dead when it chose him as a winner. This is a “unique situation, because he died hours before the decision was made.” Hansson told Swedish news agency TT the panel would review what to do with the prize money, due to rules against posthumous awards. But it would not name a substitute winner.

Dr. Steinman, who was born in Montreal, was the director of the Christopher H. Browne Center for Immunology and Immune Diseases at New York’s Rockefeller University.

“The Rockefeller University is delighted that the Nobel Foundation has recognized Ralph Steinman for his seminal discoveries concerning the body’s immune responses,” Rockefeller University president Marc Tessier-Lavigne said in a statement.

Prof. Steinman who was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago, extended his life using a “dendritic-cell based immunotherapy” that he designed, the university said in a statement on its website.

Alexis Steinman, indicating that her father had not known on his deathbed of the impending decision in Stockholm, said: “We are all so touched that our father’s many years of hard work are being recognized with a Nobel Prize. He devoted his life to his work and his family and he would be truly honored.”


The Nobel Foundation has decided to award Nobel Prize for Medicine, to Dr. Stienman posthumously. The Foundation said the decision to honour Steinman was made in good faith under the assumption that he was alive, and compared the situation to someone who was named as a laureate but died before the actual Nobel Prize award ceremony.
Publisher: Salient News