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NIH grantees win 2011 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine

October 3, 2011 - The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded to National Institutes of Health grantees Bruce A. Beutler, M.D., of The Scripps Research Institute, La Jolla, Calif.; and Jules A. Hoffmann, Ph.D., for their discoveries concerning the activation of innate immunity and the late Ralph M. Steinman, M.D., of Rockefeller University, New York City for his discovery of the dendritic cell and its role in adaptive immunity.

"The work of these three NIH-supported scientists has provided fundamental understanding of the body's immune system, and has been pivotal to the development of new vaccines against infectious diseases and treatments for cancer," said NIH director Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D.

The NIH began supporting the work of Dr. Beutler in 1984 and has provided almost $58 million in support. Dr. Beutler's work has been supported by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), the National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Diseases, the National Institute of General Medical Sciences, and the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Hoffmann has received almost $7 million in support from NIAID since 1998. NIAID began supporting the work of Dr. Steinman in 1976 and provided more than $49 million in support.

"NIAID has had the honor of supporting all three awardees," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "Their elegant work has been - and will continue to be - extraordinary in its impact. It is rare that an investigator makes a discovery so important that it influences virtually every aspect of a scientific discipline. Their discoveries have opened up the possibility of harnessing the body's own cells and immune processes to prevent infectious diseases, autoimmune disorders, allergic diseases, cancer, and rejection of organ transplants."

The Office of the Director, the central office at NIH, is responsible for setting policy for NIH, which includes 27 Institutes and Centers. This involves planning, managing, and coordinating the programs and activities of all NIH components. The Office of the Director also includes program offices which are responsible for stimulating specific areas of research throughout NIH.

Additional information is available at http://www.nih.gov/icd/od/ .

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH):
NIH, the nation's medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and s upporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov .


Contact:
NIH Office of Communications
301-496-5787


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