James Allison, Tasuku Honjo win Nobel Prize for cancer research
04 October, 2018, 14:17 | Author: Jared Lewis
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.
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.
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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