The Nobel Prize for research into the human immune system

The 2011 Nobel Prize in Medicine was awarded to French Jules Hoffman, Canadian Ralph Steinmann and American Bruce Beutler, for their work on immune system that has helped in the prevention and treatment of infections, cancer and inflammatory diseases.

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Jules A. Hoffmann
Photo: Mosimann for Balzan

Jules Hoffmann, a French researcher born in Luxemburg, works at the Institut de biologie moléculaire et cellulaire in Strasbourg. He was awarded the CNRS Gold Medal in 2011.

Following Jules Hoffman’s honour, France can boast another Nobel Prize in Medicine (the last French winners to receive it were Jean Dausset in 1980, and then Françoise Barré-Sinoussi and Luc Montagnier in 2008). This latest honour is a testament to the dynamic nature and the quality of French medical research.

Award of the Nobel Prize in Medicine to Professor Jules Hoffmann – Communiqué issued by the Presidency of the Republic

Paris, 3 October 2011

President Sarkozy is delighted that the Nobel Prize in Medicine has been awarded to Professor Jules Hoffmann, of the University of Strasbourg.

By studying antimicrobial responses in insects and demonstrating the marked conservation of innate defence mechanisms between insects and humans, Professor Hoffmann has made a decisive contribution to our understanding of defence systems against infectious and parasitic diseases.

Professor Hoffmann and his colleagues have shed unprecedented light on insects’ antimicrobial responses.

His research as a whole established the insect genus Drosophila [vinegar fly] as a model of innate immunity, and his work has had a major impact on our understanding of the antiparasitic defences of the Anopheles genus [mosquito], the vector of malaria.

This distinction is a tribute to the University of Strasbourg, the CNRS [Centre national de recherche scientifique], the French scientific community and our country as a whole.

President Sarkozy, who is resolutely committed to combating the great pandemics (AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria), welcomes this award, which honours the decisive efforts made to eradicate infectious and parasitic diseases./.

Award of the Nobel Prize in Medicine to Professor Jules Hoffmann – Communiqué issued by the Prime Minister

Paris, 3 October 2011

Prime Minister François Fillon welcomes the fact that Professor Jules Hoffmann, of Strasbourg’s Institut de biologie moléculaire et cellulaire, has been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine.

This award is the crowning achievement of the major advances enabled by his work in the field of immunity research. They make an essential contribution to the fight against malaria and infectious diseases, an issue which President Sarkozy and the government have wholeheartedly supported by increasing the number of research programmes. The prospects opened up by this work pave the way, more broadly, to an understanding of the immune system as a whole.

This prize is another tremendous recognition of the excellence of our researchers and their involvement in the most advanced work at global level./..

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Ralph Marvin Steinman was a Canadian geneticist specializing in immunology. A cell biology specialist, he worked at Rockefeller University.

While studying the immune system in 1973, he discovered the role of dendritic cells in the human immune system.

A few hours after the laureates’ names were made public, Rockefeller University in New York announced that, “Mr. Steinman died on September 30.

” The Nobel Committee, which was not aware of Ralph Steinman’s death, decided to uphold its choice, even though it generally does not award the prize posthumously.

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Bruce A. Beutler
Photo: Mosimann for Balzan

Bruce Alan Beutler is an American geneticist, specializing in immunology.

Beutler and Hoffmann will share half the prize of 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.46 million) awarded to the laureates for their work on the innate immune system.

Steinman, deceased, was awarded for his work on the adaptive immune system and is due to receive the other half of the prize.

Last modified on 05/10/2011

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