James Allison, Tasuku Honjo win Nobel Prize for cancer research

04 October, 2018, 14:17 | Author: Jared Lewis
  • A screen displays portraits of James Allison and Tasuku Honju winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine during a press conference at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm on Oct 1 2018

Two scientists have been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for medicine for "landmark" research into how the body's natural defences can fight cancer. Immunotherapy is quickly becoming one of the foremost weapons in cancer treatment, alongside radiation and chemotherapy.

Immunologists James Allison and Tasuku Honjo have received the medicine Nobel prize for discovering how to release the brakes cancer puts on the immune system.

The results of his work were the mainstay of ipilimumab, the first cancer drug against metastatic melanoma, approved in 2011 after 10 years of clinical trials.

Honjo, 76, meanwhile vowed to push ahead with his work. From 1977-1984 he was a faculty member at University of Texas System Cancer Center, Smithville, Texas; from 1985-2004 at University of California, Berkeley and from 2004-2012 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York.

"In parallel, Tasuku Honjo discovered a protein on immune cells and, after careful exploration of its function, eventually revealed that it also operates as a brake, but with a different mechanism of action". The economics laureate, which is not technically a Nobel but is given in honor of Alfred Nobel, the prizes' founder, will be announced next Monday.

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Both Dr Allison and Dr Honjo's joint efforts showcased how different strategies can be used to inhibit the brakes on the human immune system, which can then help in the effective treatment of cancer.

Allison went into cancer research because he always wanted to be the first person to figure something out.

The therapy "has now revolutionized cancer treatment and has fundamentally changed the way we view how cancer can be managed", the statement added. "They are living proof of the power of basic science, of following our urge to learn and to understand how things work", Allison said.

No Nobel in literature is being given this year because the Swedish Academy, the body that selects the victor, has been in turmoil after sex abuse and financial scandal allegations.

Following the discovery of the protein in 1992, Honjo presented his research in 2002 showing that a drug that prevents the unification of cancer cells and the PD-1 protein is effective against cancer in animals.

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Dr James P Allison is an American immunologist, who chairs the department of immunology and is the executive director of immunotherapy platform at the MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"I never dreamed my research would take the direction it has".

The discoveries led to greatly improved therapies for skin cancer, as well as cancers of the lung, head, neck, kidney and liver.

The literature prize will not be handed out this year after the awarding body was hit by a sexual misconduct scandal.

Dr. Allison told a news conference he was in a "state of shock" hours after learning from his son that he had won a Nobel prize.

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But he did insist that the Foden is very much in his thoughts. "I believe too much in that team, in those guys", he said. I expect him back when he's fit , which should be quite soon". "AGUERO is struggling with some problems in his feet.

The physics prize is to be announced Tuesday, followed by chemistry.

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