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In memory of Ralph Steinman

Journal of Periodontal & Implant Science
Korean Academy of Periodontology (KAMJE)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.5051/jpis.2011.41.5.209
  • Editorial
  • Medicine

Abstract pISSN 2093-2278eISSN 2093-2286 Editorial Copyright © 2011 Korean Academy of Periodontology This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( In memory of Ralph Steinman J Periodontal Implant Sci 2011;41:209-210 • On October 3rd of this year, we were excited to hear the news that Ralph M. Steinman had received the Nobel Prize in Medicine for his discovery of dendritic cells and their role in adaptive immunity. However, we were immediately in profound shock and grief by the news that he had passed away three days earlier from pancreatic cancer, which had troubled him for 4 years. The committee decided not to revoke the decision even though the Nobel Prize was awarded posthumously for the first time in history. We all welcome their decision with open arms, relieved that Steinman’s achievement was fi- nally well acknowledged and respected. Dendritic cells were originally known to initiate immune responses, and they provide important innate and adaptive resistance mechanisms to infections and cancers. These features have made dendritic cells an attractive subject for many clinical studies. I believe that they are and will be the hub of future cell-based immunotherapy applications, which should be based on data from various aspects of basic research. In my memory, Ralph paid meticulous attention to choosing the proper words to describe any scientific observations that he or his lab made. Furthermore, he never exaggerated the potential power of den- dritic cells in various aspects of immunology in his numerous public speeches. Thus, when he described dendritic cells as “versatile control- lers of the immune system” in his commentary for the Lasker Basic Medical Research Award in Nature (2007), I personally believed the grav- ity of the subject and, in fact, this discovery was what led him on the

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