Deceased Montreal Born Scientist Awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine

Canadian Nobel Prize Winners
Twenty Canadians have received the Noble Prize, including the most recent winner, Quebec-born Ralph Steinman. It’s an exclusive men’s club as a Canadian woman has never received the award.

By Charmaine Gooden
Three scientists, including Quebec-born Ralph Steinman, who died this weekend, have  been awarded the Nobel  prize for medicine. Steinman, 68, was born in Quebec and used his own discoveries to treat himself for pancreatic cancer, but died just days before he could be told of the award. Steinman, who was a professor at Rockefeller University in New York, shares the Nobel medicine prize with American Bruce Beutler and Luxembourg-born Jules Hoffmann. The work of all three prizewinners has been pivotal to the development of improved types of vaccines against infectious diseases and novel approaches to fighting cancer. Their research has helped lay the foundations for a new wave of “therapeutic vaccines” that stimulate the immune system to attack tumors.

Beutler and Hoffmann were honoured for their discoveries about the first stages of immune responses, while Steinman was cited for discoveries that led to better understanding of the later stages.

Colleagues of Steinman at New York’s Rockefeller University said he had prolonged his own life with a new therapy based on his prize-winning research into the body’s immune system. He died Friday after a four-year battle with pancreatic cancer.

Including Dr. Steinman, there have been 20 Canadian Noble Prize winners.