Nobel Medicine Prize awarded for cancer research

James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo win Nobel prize for medicine

James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo Win 2018 Nobel Prize In Physiology or Medicine

"The number of different types of cancers for which this approach to immunotherapy is being found to be effective in at least some patients continues to grow". "We submitted to Nature, and it was published; we got a lot of notoriety for that". In 1982, while working at The University of Texas System Cancer Center, Allison made a breakthrough discovery - identifying the T-cell antigen receptor, which allows T cells to recognize an unusual protein on the surface of another cell.

"By stimulating the inherent ability of our immune system to attack tumor cells this year's Nobel Laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy", the Nobel Prize Foundation said in a statement.

Allsion studied a protein that functions as a brake on the immune system.

"I'm honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition", Allison said in a statement released by the university's MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he is a professor.

Commenting on Monday's award, Dan Davis, an immunologist at Britain's University of Manchester, said "this game-changing cancer therapy" has "sparked a revolution in thinking about the many other ways in which the immune system can be harnessed or unleashed to fight cancer and other illnesses".

The discovery led to a concept called "checkpoint blockade". As a result, while attempts to rev up the immune system are like stepping on the gas, they won't be effective unless you also release the brakes.

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It is the second leading cause of death worldwide and it is estimated that this year, 9.6 million people will die from cancer. The therapy was acquired by Bristol-Myers Squibb in 2011 and approved by the FDA as ipilimumab (trade name Yervoy), which is now used to treat skin cancers that have metastasized or that can not be removed surgically. Perlmann said the Nobel Committee chose to highlight Allison and Honjo to reflect the basic science that created a new "pillar" of cancer therapy.

"Berkeley was my favorite place, and if I could have stayed there, I would have", he said. "There's no hospital, no patients". Other scientists worked on using CTLA-4 as a way to treat autoimmune disorders.

Normally, PD-1 proteins work like sunglasses.

But new studies suggest combining a therapy targeting both CTLA-4 and PD-1 can be even more effective, particularly in patients with melanoma.

The approach to cancer treatment that was honored with this year's Nobel was used for treating former U.S. President Jimmy Carter, who was diagnosed in 2015 with melanoma, which had spread to his brain.

Born on August 7, 1948, Allison's early interest was medicine and was inspired by his father, who was an ENT specialist.

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