Ralph M. Steinman, M.D.
Ralph M. Steinman, M.D., was the head of the Laboratory of Cellular Physiology and Immunology at Rockefeller University and a senior physician at The Rockefeller University Hospital. He investigated the fundamental mechanisms of cellular immunity, with the goal of developing immune-based therapies. He discovered a previously unknown class of immune cells, called dendritic cells, which control many of our early immune responses. For that discovery, he received the 2007 Albert Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research and the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Patients Have Been Too Patient With Basic Research
Steinman has devoted his long career to pioneering studies of immunology. Basic research of this kind has been hugely productive, he says, but its potential benefits for treating serious illnesses are taking too long to reach patients. We are failing to maintain a crucial transmission belt between basic research and clinical applications: the physician-scientist. We must take immediate and effective steps to reverse this trend, because our lives “may one day depend upon the progress of medicine.”