United States and Japanese scientists to share Nobel prize for cancer work

04 October, 2018, 02:49 | Author: Lillian Steele
  • Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded jointly to James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo for discovery of a cancer therapy

Jim Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology and executive director of the Immunotherapy Platform at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for launching an effective new way to attack cancer by treating the immune system rather than the tumor. Proteins on the surface of a T cell tell the immune system to kick into overdrive and ready it to destroy foreign threats - but others act as blocks, telling the immune system to slow down.

He was diagnosed in 2015 with the skin cancer melanoma, which had spread to his brain. Their research has led to the development of drugs that release that Human immune system against the cancer cells. Allison and Honjo have previously shared the 2014 Tang Prize, touted as Asia's version of the Nobels, for their research.

Honjo and Allison will split the Nobel prize amount of 9 million in Swedish krona, or $1.01 million. This is the second year in a row that a Longhorn has won the coveted award.

"I had lung cancer", the member was quoted as saying, "and thought I was playing my last round of golf". And more recently, scientists have found that combining the two targets can be even more effective in cancer treatment, particularly in combating melanoma.

"I've been doing this sort of stuff for years, and I'd never seen anything like that", Allison said. Allison tells The Times that patients are "good to go for a decade or more".

Allison and Honjo, 76, have succeeded in helping the medical community overcome skepticism.

As The Guardian explains, the human immune system "normally seeks out and destroys mutated cells, but cancer finds sophisticated ways to hide from immune attacks", in part by "ramping up braking mechanisms created to prevent immune cells from attacking normal tissue". "Immunotherapy is going to be part, it's not going to replace the others, but it's going to be part of the therapy that essentially all cancer patients are going to be receiving in 5 years".

"We are coming to understand the immune system as the adjudicator of all tissue, the peacemaker as well as the destroyer", Krummel said at the time of the ImmunoX announcement. "The chances of anything working here minimal". "A comment like that makes me happier than any prize". I did not get into these studies to try to cure cancer. "I still wake up every day and thank God I'm here".

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Allison, initially driven only by curiosity about immune cells, had a insane thought: Maybe CTLA-4 can be exploited to fight cancer.

Also, more than 30 drugs are under development as of June, said the American Cancer Society. Several such drugs have been approved for use in the U.S.

Science advances on the efforts of many, he said.

The approach was used to treat former President Jimmy Carter.

Among those to have received such treatment is former USA president Jimmy Carter, who was diagnosed in 2015 with the skin cancer melanoma, which had spread to his brain.

"There are, built into the immune system, these inhibitory circuits that stop the immune system at a certain point so that it doesn't hurt normal tissues, but that also keeps it from attacking tumor cells as effectively as the T cells might".

In 2016, after being treated with a drug inspired by Prof Honjo's research, he announced that he no longer needed treatment. Immunotherapy is quickly becoming one of the foremost weapons in cancer treatment, alongside radiation and chemotherapy.

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