WESTPORT, Conn. Westport resident Ralph Steinman, a cell biologist at Rockefeller University in New York, was awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine Monday, three days after he died from pancreatic cancer, the university reported on its website. He was 68.
Steinman, who lived on North Avenue with his wife, Claudia, discovered that Dendritic cells, specialized immune system cells, can be used to curb infections and other communicable diseases, the university reported.
Four years ago, after Steinman was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, he used his discovery to treat the cancer and prolong his life, the university said.
"We are all so touched that our father's many years of hard work are being recognized with a Nobel Prize," said Alexis Steinman, Steinman's daughter, according to the university. "He devoted his life to his work and his family, and he would be truly honored."
Steinman shared the prize with American Bruce Beutler and French scientist Jules Hoffmann. The Nobel Foundation did not learn about Steinmans death until Monday. Although Nobel rules prohibit the awarding of prizes posthumously, BBC News reported the foundation has decided to let Steinman keep the award.
"According to the statutes of the Nobel Foundation, work produced by a person since deceased shall not be given an award. However, the statutes specify that if a person has been awarded a prize and has died before receiving it, the prize may be presented," a statement from the Nobel Foundation said, according to BBC News.
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