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Cesar Milstein

(1927 - 2002)

Cesar Milstein was a Jewish Argentinian biochemist and recipient of the 1984 Nobel Prize in Medicine.

Milstein (born October 8, 1927; died March 24, 2002) was born in Bahia Bianca, Argentina to a Jewish family, immigrants from Lithuania. He graduated from the University of Buenos Aires. In 1958, funded by the British Council, he joined the Biochemistry Department at the University of Cambridge in England to work for a Ph.D. on the mechanism of metal activation of the enzyme phosphoglucomutase.

Milstein's pioneering discovery of how to form "monoclonal antibodies" made him co-winner of the 1984 Nobel Prize for Medicine. He had merged cells that produce natural antibodies with those of a tumor that multiplies indefinitely. The result: a new combined cell that generates a specific anti-body in quantity - to target single disease organisms invading the body, unlike the generalized attack of most antibodies. The landmark development in 1975 came from a gifted researcher whose model was Louis Pasteur.

He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1975, was a fellow of Darwin College, Cambridge from 1980 to 2002, awarded the Louisa Gross Horwitz Prize from Columbia University in 1980, won the Copley Medal in 1989, and became a Companion of Honour in 1995. In 1993 Konex Foundation from Argentina granted him the Diamond Konex Award, one of the most prestigious culture awards in Argentina, as the most important Scientist in the last decade in his country.

Milstein died early on March 24, 2002, in Cambridge, England at age 74 as a result of a heart condition from which he had suffered for many years.

Sources: Dor LeDor; Wikipedia