James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo win Nobel prize for medicine

The Nobel Prize laureates in medicine or physiology are shown on a screen at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm Sweden

The peace prize will be announced on Friday, and the economics prize will wrap up the Nobel season next Monday. American James Allison and Japanese Tasuku Honjo were awarded the honourable prize by the award-giving body.

Jim Allison, Ph.D., a scientist at MD Anderson Cancer Center, has been awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, it was announced on October 1. Their parallel work concerned proteins that act as brakes on the body's immune system. "He then developed this concept into a brand new approach for treating patients".

In 2011, the Food and Drug Administration approved an anti-CTLA-4 antibody (ipilimumab) as a treatment for late-stage melanoma. By releasing that brake, Honjo's research had found a "strikingly effective" treatment against cancer.

He said Allison's work a decade ago "really opened up immunotherapy" as a fifth pillar of cancer treatments, after surgery, radiation, chemotherapy and precision therapy. "We congratulate him on this highly deserved honor".

"I've been doing this sort of stuff for years, and I'd never seen anything like that", Allison said. "We submitted to Nature, and it was published; we got a lot of notoriety for that". One cancer doctor said "an untold number of lives. have been saved by the science that they pioneered".

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

Allison, 70, is now chair of the department of immunology at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

"His actions helped create the superb research environment here, which is so conducive to making the fundamental discoveries that will be the basis of the next generation of medical breakthroughs", Raulet said. As a result, the T-cells could kill the cancer cells. Since 2012 he has been professor at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas and is affiliated with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

Allison's work, much of it done at the University of California-Berkley, changed that by proving the immune system could identify tumor cells and act against them. This attitude rubbed off on the team.

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Perlmann said he had not yet managed to contact Allison. "The tumors went away".

Allison's interest in the immune system was deepened by an experiment he conducted on mice when he was a graduate student.

He primarily focused on a protein that operates somewhat like a brake in a motor vehicle. It is the second leading cause of death worldwide and it is estimated that this year, 9.6 million people will die from cancer. Clinical trials are underway in many other cancer types.

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. "There's no hospital, no patients".

In the early 1990s, Allison had been studying a protein called CTLA-4, which sits in the outer layer - the membrane - of an active T-cell and behaves like an off-switch.

Normally, PD-1 proteins work like sunglasses. And in 2005, Honjo co-authored a paper describing the effect of PD-1 blockade on the spread of melanoma and colon cancer cells in mice.

"This year's #NobelPrize constitutes a landmark in our fight against cancer".

"Science advances on the efforts of many", Allison said.

Born in Alice, Texas, on August 7, 1948, Allison earned a B.S.in microbiology in 1969 and a Ph.D.in biological science in 1973 from the University of Texas, Austin.

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