Nobel Prize winner died of pancreatic cancer

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Dr. Thomas A. Steitz died on October 9, 2018 at the age of 78, and died of pancreatic cancer. Steitz is the co-winner of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

Steitz’s research on the ribosome has had a profound impact, making the atomic structure of the ribosome more clear. The ribosome is the main force that leads the genes encoded into DNA to be “translated” into proteins. Steitz’s work is directly related to the biological mechanism that causes pancreatic cancer. As we all know, pancreatic cancer and other cancer types are caused by genetic changes. When errors or mutations occur in the genetic code, these errors can pass through the ribosome and cause the production of abnormal proteins. The activity of these abnormal proteins causes healthy cells to become cancer cells and spread in the body. Researchers are doing further research to design new targeted therapies to directly block the activity of abnormal proteins in pancreatic cancer cells.

The Pancreatic Cancer Action Network (PanCAN) is deeply grateful to Steitz for his contributions to understanding cell and molecular biology, and expresses his condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.

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