Houston doctor jointly awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine
Houston doctor jointly awarded Nobel Prize in Medicine
James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo win Nobel prize for medicine
03 October, 2018, 19:16
The 2018 Nobel Prize for Medicine or Physiology has been jointly awarded to United States and Japanese immunologists James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo. Research by Allison at the University of Texas in the USA and Honjo at Japan's Kyoto University explored how the body's immune system can be harnessed to attack cancer cells by releasing the brakes on immune cells.
Honjo, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Genomic Medicine at Japan's Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, discovered PD-1 on the surface of immune cells in 1992 and later demonstrated that the protein inhibited immune response.
The Nobel committee said the pair's research - which harnesses the body's immune system to attack cancer cells - amounted to a "landmark in our fight against cancer".
In 2014, Allison and Honjo received the first "Tang Prize for Biopharmaceutical Science" for their research in cancer immunotherapy, a type of treatment that allows for the immune system to fight cancer effectively.
The research honored with today's Nobel Prize in Medicine paid off for at least one very famous patient: former USA president Jimmy Carter.
Mr Carter was diagnosed in 2015 with the skin cancer melanoma, which had spread to his brain. A year later, he announced he no longer needed treatment. It said Allison and Honjo's work "revolutionized cancer treatment and has fundamentally changed the way we view how cancer can be managed". "So that this immunetherapy will save more cancer patients than ever", he told reporters at the University of Kyoto where he is based.
The citation for this year's Nobel Prize in Medicine says the two honorees developed therapies for treating cancer. That award from Keio University recognizes researchers who have made an outstanding contribution to medicine or the life sciences.
KYOTO-Tasuku Honjo credits his lifelong natural curiosity for his achievements that were capped with being named October 1 co-winner of this year's Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
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Both Allison and Honjo discovered distinct proteins that were responsible for blocking the immune response: CTLA-4 and PD-1. Even if antigens are injected to activate the immune system, the PD-1 protein works to suppress immune function.
Why did this work win the Nobel prize?
"After many years of resistance, I think the cancer field has begun to accept immunotherapy now as the fourth pillar-along with radiation, surgery and chemotherapy-of cancer therapy".
Their discoveries have created a billion-dollar market for new cancer medicines, . especially offering new options for patients fighting against melanoma, lung and bladder cancers.
Mike Lazaridis (DEng '00), Principal of Quantum Valley Investments® and University of Waterloo Chancellor Emeritus " Donna Strickland exemplifies research excellence at Waterloo.
The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences has awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2018 with one half to Frances H Arnold and the other half jointly to George P Smith and Sir Gregory P Winter for their work in evolution and phages.
"He told me, 'Thanks to you I can play golf again.' ..." It's a great, emotional privilege to meet cancer patients who've been successfully treated with immune checkpoint blockade.
Allison's ongoing leadership at MD Anderson focuses on improving knowledge of how these drugs work to extend the benefits of immunotherapy to more patients with more types of cancer.
Dr Arnold of the California Institute of Technology was awarded half the prize for conducting the first directed evolution of enzymes, leading to more environmentally friendly manufacturing of chemicals, including drugs, and in the production of renewable fuels.
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