“Human Immune Defenses Are Transplanted in Mice” beckoned the headline on a front page of the New York Times last month. It announced a story arousing high expectations for a powerful new medical research tool Independently, two teams of researchers had shown that rodents having no immune systems of their own could be made to serve as true models of the human immune system, and this promised to open many doors in the study of human disease—offering insights into some cancers, for example, and AIDS.

But of the scientists themselves and of the secrets to their success, the Times said little. Who were they, and exactly how did they achieve what no scientists before them had ever done? Beginning on page 24, The Scientist takes a close look at them.

The excitement engendered by their achievements spurred a number of major newspapers in addition to the Times to run prominent...

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