NBC News — Three scientists, including an American, were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine monday. The scientists' research on the immune system has opened up new avenues for the prevention and treatment of infections, cancer and inflammations. American Bruce Beutler and French scientist Jules Hoffmann will share the prestigious 1.5 million dollar award with Canadian-born scientist Ralph Steinman.
Beutler and Hoffmann were cited for their discoveries in the 1990s of receptor proteins that can recognize bacteria and other micro-organisms as they enter the body, and activate the first line of defense in the immune system, known as innate immunity. Steinman was honored for the discovery two decades earlier of special cells that help regulate immunity.