Stanley B. Prusiner
Born: 28 May 1942, Des Moines, IA, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of California School of Medicine, San Francisco, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for his discovery of Prions - a new biological principle of infection"
Field: disease transmission
Prize share: 1/1
Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and related illnesses affecting people and animals involve the degeneration of brain cells. In 1982 Stanley Prusiner was able to isolate a suspected infectious agent, a protein that he called a prion. He identified the gene behind the prion protein, but determined that it is also present in healthy people and animals. Stanley Prusiner showed that the prion molecules are folded in a different way than the normal proteins and that the folding of the prion can be transferred to normal proteins. This is the basis for the illness.
"for their discoveries concerning new mechanisms for the origin and dissemination of infectious diseases"
"for their discovery of the cellular origin of retroviral oncogenes"
"for their discoveries concerning the specificity of the cell mediated immune defence"