Jewish-Italian Nobel scientist Montalcini dies at 103

December 30, 2012 20:10

ROME - Rita Levi Montalcini, joint winner of the Nobel Prize for Medicine and an Italian Senator for Life, died on Sunday at the age of 103, her family said.

The first Nobel laureate to reach 100 years of age, she won the prize in 1986 with American Stanley Cohen for their discovery of nerve growth factor (NGF), a protein that makes developing cells grow by stimulating surrounding nerve tissue.

Her research helped in the treatment of spinal cord injuries and has increased understanding of cardiovascular diseases, Alzheimer's and conditions such as dementia and autism.

One of twins born to a Jewish family in Turin in 1909, Montalcini was the oldest living recipient of the prize.

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