The Scientific Advisors and Board of Directors of the Lupus Research Institute (LRI) extend a tribute in memoriam to Dr. Ralph Steinman, who died just days before being awarded the Nobel prize in medicine for research that revolutionized our understanding of the immune system.
His colleague and former student at Rockefeller University and LRI Scientific Advisory Board member Dr. Michel Nussenzweig praises Dr. Steinman’s break-through discovery of dendritic cells and their essential role in activating the immune system, which paved the way for new vaccines and immunotherapies, including new treatments in development for lupus.
The LRI also congratulates co-recipients of the 2011 Nobel prize in medicine, Drs. Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffman who discovered the Toll-like receptors – evolutionarily ancient immune receptors that are found in animals from invertebrates to man - and uncovered their essential role in recognizing pathogens and triggering immune responses.
LRI Scientific Advisory Board Chairman and National Institutes of Health Distinguished Investigator Dr. William Paul expressed his appreciation to the Nobel Prize Committee for recognizing the significant contributions of the three prize winners to medicine. “By discovering how the immune system recognizes and responds to pathogens and how the innate immune response guides adaptive immunity, these scientists opened up entirely new fields in autoimmune diseases such as lupus, in vaccine development and in cancer. This award is a moment to reflect on the great strides already achieved in lupus as well as the need to support novel research going forward.”
Current chairman of The Scripps Research Institute's Department of Genetics, Dr. Beutler will soon be joining University of Texas. Dr. Hoffman has held various positions with the French National Research Agency CNRS, the latest being that of Distinguished Class Research Director and of Member of the Board of Administration and currently serves as a Professor for the University of Strasbourg.
The Lupus Research Institute and the entire lupus community are indebted to Drs. Steinman, Beutler and Hoffman for their pioneering work, and commend the Nobel committee for recognizing their landmark contributions to immunology research.