US, Japanese pair win Nobel Medicine Prize for cancer therapy

US, Japanese pair win Nobel Medicine Prize for cancer therapy

US, Japanese pair win Nobel Medicine Prize for cancer therapy

Jim Allison, the chairman of the center's Immunology Department and executive director of the immunotherapy platform, was recognized by the Nobel Committee along with Japan's Tasuku Honjo for the pair's pioneering research into cancer treatment.

"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. It was a breakthrough drug that turned an invariably fatal cancer that killed patients within months into one that could be cured, albeit in only a minority (about 20 percent) of patients. Just last week, such a drug was approved for treatment of another kind of skin cancer called squamous cell cancer, he said.

"The community of cancer biologists was not convinced that you could even use the immune system to alter cancer's outcome, because cancer was too much like self", said Matthew "Max" Krummel, who was a graduate student and postdoctoral fellow with Allison in the 1990s and is now a professor of pathology and a member of the joint immunology group at UCSF. "I didn't set out to study cancer, but to understand the biology of T cells, these incredible cells that travel our bodies and work to protect us", he said. By releasing that brake, Honjo's research had found a "strikingly effective" treatment against cancer.

Both laureates studied proteins that prevent the body and its main immune cells, known as T-cells, from attacking tumor cells effectively.

"When we showed (Professor Ralph) Reisfeld a paper we wrote, he actually said, 'I don't want my name on it".

In this video about UC Berkeley's new Immunotherapeutics and Vaccine Research Initiative (IVRI), Allison discusses his groundbreaking work on cancer immunotherapy.

Elon Musk reportedly walked away from settlement with SEC
The Silicon Valley billionaire said overnight he had done nothing wrong and Tesla's board reiterated its support for him. Tesla is "still a powerful brand on its own", said Karl Brauer, executive publisher of Kelly Blue Book and Autotrader.

Meanwhile, Allison left UC Berkeley in 2004 for Memorial Sloan Kettering research center in NY to be closer to the drug companies shepherding his therapy through clinical trials, and to explore in more detail how checkpoint blockade works. "A comment like that makes me happier than any prize", he said.

The Nobel Peace Prize will be awarded in Oslo on Friday, while the announcement of the economics prize will cap off this year's Nobel season on October 8.

"In some patients, this therapy is remarkably effective", Jeremy Berg, editor-in-chief of the Science family of journals, told the AP.

Monday's announcement represents only the latest instance in which a current or former Scripps Research scientist has been awarded the Nobel Prize.

The duo will share the Nobel prize sum of 9 million Swedish kronor (about $1.01 million).

Medicine is the first of the Nobel Prizes to be handed out each year. No literature prize is being given this year.

Related news