MD Anderson professor talks about Nobel Prize win

Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine awarded jointly to James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo for discovery of...

American James P. Allison and Japanese Tasuku Honjo won the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in the 2018 for cancer research. 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.

A former UC Berkeley cancer researcher has been awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for his groundbreaking work that began on the Berkeley campus and continued when he moved on to University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Meanwhile Honjo, of Kyoto University in Japan, was studying a different immune brake called PD-1 (programmed cell death 1), according to Thomas Perlmann, secretary-general of the Nobel Committee, who spoke about the findings amid the prize announcement early Monday.

"A driving motivation for scientists is simply to push the frontier of knowledge".

The pair's research led to a new approach, known as immune checkpoint theory, that has amounted to a "landmark in our fight against cancer", the Sweden-based Nobel Committee said.

"We need these drugs to work for more people", Allison said. Efficacy and safety of ipilimumab in metastatic melanoma patients surviving more than 2 years following treatment in a phase III trial (MDX010-20).

In 2001, Ribas was among the first doctors to test the experimental immunotherapy drug on melanoma patients. Allison's team did the first experiments at the end of 1994, and the results were "spectacular", the Nobel organization said. He continues his own research, focusing on the details of immune response to cancer and identifying new targets for potential treatment. My entrance would have been a lot more dramatic if the nurse hadn't already told her the good news.

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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. Other cancer treatments have previously been awarded Nobel prizes, including methods for hormone treatment for prostate cancer in 1966, chemotherapy in 1988 and bone marrow transplantation for leukaemia in 1990.

Then, in 1996, Krummel and Dana Leach, PhD, an Allison lab postdoctoral researcher, published a study in Science showing that cancers engage CTLA-4 to escape immune surveillance, and that blocking CTLA-4 with a specially designed antibody caused dramatic shrinkage of tumors in mice. Carter announced in 2016 that he no longer needed treatment.

Instead, it is "going to be part of therapy that potentially all cancer patients will receive in five years", he told a press conference in NY.

"The goal is to neutralise these molecules, among them CTLA-4 and PD-1, and these are what the recipients of the Nobel prize have been working on", said Pierre Golstein, emeritus professor at the Marseille-Luminy Immunology Centre.

"I would like to keep on doing my research.so that this immune treatment could save more cancer patients", he said. "They are living proof of the power of basic science", he added.

An article Honjo wrote in a journal in 1992 about the discovery of the protein PD-1 was the catalyst that led to him winning the Nobel Prize.

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