A matter of perspective

As I am sure everyone knows by now, the world has been shook by a tragic loss. The man was brilliant, dedicated and his work will most likely affect many generations to come.

I am, of course, talking about immunologist and cell biologist Ralph Steinman, whose unorthodox work earned him the Nobel Prize in Medicine. The Nobel Prize was announced just days after he passed.

Ralph Steinman had devoted his life and work to development of cures based on a class of cells he had discovered with his mentor, Zanvil Cohn, called dendritic cells. Steinman believed he could use these cells to identify and attack cancer cells.



Four years ago, he was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, one of the most ruthless and harmful forms. It is often called the “silent killer” because it has already spread by the time it reveals symptoms.

Steinman decided to put his life work to the ultimate test and attempt the cure on himself. A piece of the tumor was removed and cells were “trained” to attack the remaining cells of the tumor.

It was a dangerous method but one that is believed to extend his life significantly and allow him to continue his research.

His work earned him the Nobel Prize in medicine which will be presented despite the fact that it was announced posthumously. This brave man’s ambitions will provide significant data to scientists and doctors in the future researching a disease that plagues so many people across the world.

In other news, Steve Jobs died.

All right, I understand he was a genius and his work affects not only media devices and computers and the like. However, I don’t understand the huge hype his death has created.

Those Occupy Wall Street folks? The ones who are protesting multi-billion dollar companies and the 1%? Some of them held a candle-light vigil for the multi-billionaire who paid no taxes and owned one of the biggest companies in the world.

It doesn’t make sense to me either.

All I am trying to say is, we all need a little perspective when it comes to who we honor and deify these days. It is important to keep in mind the incredible work done by people of every class and every profession, not just those who we see on TV or the internet everyday.

In summation, thanks for the iPod Steve, but I think I’ll back the dendritic cells.

Follow me on Twitter ... @evesunjulian.

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