The 2011 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

…and the prize goes to Bruce A. Beutler, Jules A. Hoffmann, and Ralph M. Steinman for their work on the innate immune system, the components of resistance that are evolutionarily older than the adaptive immune system (antibodies, T cells, all that stuff). The innate immune system includes all the cytokine and chemokine activators of other components of the immune system, NK (natural killer) cells, various lipid inflammation mediators, the histamine response, and the complement cascade — a welter of complex interacting elements that combine to make our bodies hostile places for any pathogen. This is the first, fast-acting part of the immune response, so it’s rather important; it also contributes to auto-immune diseases.

(Also on FtB)