As some of you may have noticed, I have blogged about pancreatic cancer in the past because it is such a nasty type of cancer. Now, pancreatic cancer is in the news because, sadly, Ralph M. Steinman, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his ground-breaking work on the immune system, died before he could receive the Award. Dr. Steinman primarily worked on immune cells, but his work also touched on cancer. The immune system monitors the body for both foreign invaders, like bacterial infections, and rogue cells that might become cancerous. The immune system is also being harnessed to create powerful and very specific drugs that can treat cancers by targeting abnormally expressed receptors on the surface of the cancer cells with antibodies.  Dr. Steinman did innovative work to develop vaccines for tumors, as well as other immune-based therapies. It is a testament to his life’s work that he won the Nobel Prize, but bittersweet that he did not get to receive the honor himself. To learn more about the immune system and cancer and targeted therapies, check out Inside Cancer, Hallmarks of Cancer; Avoiding Detection, and Diagnosis and Treatment, Blocking Receptors. For details of Dr. Steinman’s life and the Nobel Prize, follow these links: