Georges J.F. Köhler
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 1984
Born: 17 April 1946, Munich, Germany
Died: 1 March 1995, Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany
Affiliation at the time of the award: Basel Institute for Immunology, Basel, Switzerland
Prize motivation: “for theories concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system and the discovery of the principle for production of monoclonal antibodies”
Prize share: 1/3
The immune system includes cells, lymphocytes and antibodies that neutralize substances foreign to the body, or antigens. We have millions of different antibodies, but each cell can produce only one kind of antibody. Sometimes a cell that forms a certain kind of antibody grows abnormally and a tumor is formed. In 1975 George Köhler and Cesar Milstein developed a method for combining such tumor cells with cells that are immune to a certain antigen so that antibodies of the same type—monoclonal antibodies—can be produced.