One of the recipients of this year's Nobel Prize in medicine died just days before the winners were announced, after extending his own life using a kind of therapy he designed.
The news -- which the Nobel committee was unaware of when it announced the winners Monday -- presents a unique quandary for the prestigious organization. Nobel rules prohibit awarding a prize posthumously unless the winner dies after the award is announced.
Ralph Steinman, a biologist with Rockefeller University, "discovered the immune system's sentinel dendritic cells and demonstrated that science can fruitfully harness the power of these cells and other components of the immune system to curb infections and other communicable diseases," the university said in a statement Monday.
Steinman died Friday at the age of 68. "He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer four years ago, and his life was extended using a dendritic-cell based immunotherapy of his own design," the university said."
The Nobel Prize website states that since 1974, rules have stipulated that a prize "cannot be awarded posthumously, unless death has occurred after the announcement."
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