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Ralph M. Steinman
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    (January 14, 1943-September 30, 2011)
    Born in Montreal, Quebec, Canada
    Discovered the role of dendritic cells in the immune system
    Announced as a co-recipient of the Nobel Prize in Medicine (October 3, 2011)
    He is often described as having discovered dendritic cells, but the cells themselves were first described by Paul Langerhans in the 19th century.
    When the Nobel Prize committee named him a winner, they were unaware that he had died three days earlier, creating a problem since the Nobel Prize rules forbid posthumous awards.
    According to his daughter, a week before his death he had jokingly told his family, 'I know I have got to hold out for that. They don't give it to you if you have passed away.'
    His discoveries about dendritic cells led to new approaches in the treatment of cancer, infectious diseases and immune system disorders.
    After being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he underwent a pioneering therapy based on his own research.
    The Nobel Prize committee ruled that the decision to award him the prize had been 'made in good faith' and would thus remain unchanged.

Credit: C. Fishel

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