Italian Nobel medicine winner Dulbecco dies at 97

Posted Feb. 20, 2012, at 7:59 p.m.

ROME — Renato Dulbecco, who shared the 1975 Nobel Prize in medicine for his seminal research on the interaction between tumors and cells, has died in California at age 97.

Italy’s National Research Council, where Dulbecco worked in the 1990s organizing the Italian Genome Project, announced his death Monday.

Dulbecco, born in Catanzaro, Italy, was a founding fellow of the La Jolla, California-based Salk Institute for Biological Studies, where he served as president and had been a distinguished professor.

According to Salk and the Nobel committee, Dulbecco’s prize-winning research gave the first clue to the genetic nature of cancer, showing how a virus could insert its own genes into the chromosome of the cell it infects and spark cancer’s characteristic uncontrolled growth.

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