Cancer researchers from US and Japan awarded Nobel Medicine Prize
Cancer researchers from US and Japan awarded Nobel Medicine Prize
The Nobel Prize laureates in medicine or physiology are shown on a screen at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm Sweden
01 October, 2018, 17:42
Allison spent 17 years convincing others that this approach could work, leading to approval in 2011 of the drug Yervoy, which showed near-miraculous results for a fraction of patients with a lethal form of skin cancer.
Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy targets proteins made by some immune system cells, as well as some cancer cells. "Immune checkpoint therapy" has revolutionised cancer treatment and has fundamentally changed the way we view how cancer can be managed", the Nobel committee stated.
Thanks to Allison's doggedness, anti-CTLA-4 therapy is now an accepted therapy for cancer and it opened the floodgates for a slew of new immunotherapies, Krummel said.
An immunologist with a Ph.D. from the University of Texas, Austin, he focused on a type of immune system cell called the T cell or T lymphocyte, which plays a key role in fighting off bacterial and viral infections as well as cancer. CTLA- 4 functions as a brake on T cells that inhibits the function of the accelerator.
Allison, 70, conducted basic research on how the immune system - in particular, a cell called a T cell - fights infection.
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Separately, Prof Honjo discovered a new protein on immune cells, finding that that too acts as a brake. By releasing that brake, Honjo's research had found a "strikingly effective" treatment against cancer. That's because our immune systems typically fight off foreign invaders, such as bacteria and viruses, and mostly ignore the cells created within our bodies - which include cancer cells.
The Nobel Prize laureates for Medicine or Physiology 2018 are James P. Allison, U.S. and Tasuku Honjo, Japan presented at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden October 1, 2018.
Other cancer treatments have been awarded Nobel prizes, including hormone treatment for prostate cancer in 1966, chemotherapy in 1988 and bone marrow transplants for leukemia in 1990.
"However, advanced cancer remains immensely hard to treat, and novel therapeutic strategies are desperately needed", the Nobel Assembly said.
The prize is now worth $1,012,297.05 and will be split between the winners.
The Nobel Prize is the world's most prestigious annual award for outstanding work in physics, chemistry, physiology or medicine, literature and promotion of peace. In 2013, Science magazine named cancer immunotherapy its Breakthrough of the Year, citing Allison's work as crucial to immunotherapy's rapid advancement, and The Economist honoured him with its Innovations Award in Bioscience.
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