Canadian Nobel winner dies

October 4, 2011 by staff 

Canadian Nobel winner diesCanadian Nobel winner dies, A Canadian-born scientist won the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday for discoveries about the immune system, but hours later, the university, said he had been dead for three days.

The Nobel committee was not aware of the death of Ralph Steinman. However, hours after learning of the death of Steinman, the foundation said the award would stand. and it was unclear whether the award would be rescinded because the statutes do not allow posthumous Nobel prizes.

Steinman, 68, who shared the prize with American Bruce Beutler and Jules Hoffman French scientist, died Sept. 30 of pancreatic cancer, according to Rockefeller University, who said he had been treated with immunotherapy based on the dendritic cell discovery two decades ago.

The cells help regulate adaptive immunity, immune system response to invading microorganisms purge the body.

The Nobel statutes do not allow posthumous awards unless a winner dies after the announcement, but before the ceremony December 10. That was in 1996 when the economy winner William Vickrey died a few days after the announcement.

Nobel officials said they believed it was the first time an award had died before the announcement, without the knowledge of the commission.

“I think I can safely say that this has not happened before,” said the Nobel Foundation spokeswoman Annika Pontikis the AP.

Nobel committee member Goran Hansson, said the Nobel committee did not know Steinman was dead when he was chosen as the winner and was looking through their regulations.

“It is very sad news,” said Hansson. “We can only regret not having the opportunity to receive the news that he had won the Nobel Prize. Our thoughts are with his family.”

Discoveries of the trio have allowed the development of better vaccines against infectious diseases. In the long run could also provide better treatments for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis and chronic inflammatory diseases, Hansson said.

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