A scientist who won the Nobel prize for medicine on Monday used his own discoveries to treat himself for cancer, but died of the disease just days before he could be told of the award.
Ralph Steinman shared the honour with American Bruce Beutler and French biologist Jules Hoffmann.
The rules state the deceased are not eligible. Now the committee has decided that can be overturned and the award will go to the Canadians family.
It’s believed his discovery in the 1970s of how white blood cells help the immune system will lead to effective treatments.
“I think that we will have new and better vaccines against microbes and that is very much needed now with the increased resistance against anti-biotics and then I expect that there will be some development in the area of attacking cancers from the immune system,” explained Lars Klareskog, Professor of Rheumatology
Beutler and Hoffman’s studies in helping to unravel the workings of the body’s first line of defence won them their share of the 1.12 million euro prize.
The accolade for Medicine is the first of the awards to be given, the Nobel Peace Prize will be announced on Friday.