Dr. Ralph Steinman spent his entire career on immunology research for which he won this Monday the Nobel Prize, an honor he shares with American Bruce Beutler and Frecnch biologist Jules Hoffmann. Steinman’s discovery of dendritic cells in 1973 led to the first therapeutic cancer vaccine, which treats men with advanced prostrate cancer.

4.5 years ago he was diagnosed with stage-four pancreatic cancer, the cancer already spreading to his lymph nodes. He received all the conventional therapy you can get: surgery and chemo. But he knew he didn’t have much time left. As a colleague said: “The one-year survival for what he had was less than 5 percent.”

He made himself into an extraordinary human lab experiment.

He tested a series of unproven therapies – including some he created – as he waged his personal battle with pancreatic cancer, trying as many as eight unproven treatments. As a colleague recalls: “Because he was looking down the barrel of his own gun in a sense, he shared the cancer patient’s sense of urgency that we identify new and effective treatments.”

He cleared all the administrative hurdles, he did it the right way. And he lived 3.5 years longer than anyone could expected.

Read the whole story here.

There are a lot of great people amongst us.

Some become as popular as Steve Jobs. Some we hear about when they die and win a Nobel Prize. The majority of great people are quickly forgotten.

Yes, we need to stay hungry. And stay foolish. Put our own dent in the universe.

But we are also responsible to put a spotlight on other great people. On people that make a difference. That change the world for the better. Not all can be media giants. They are just human giants.

Less Lady Gaga. More Tawakul Kaman.

Not all of us were born to do the amazing work of Ralph Steinman. But we owe the world to talk about them.