American, Japanese academics win Nobel Prize in Medicine for cancer research

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

The Nobel Prize laureates for Medicine or Physiology 2018 are James P. Allison, US, and Tasuku Honjo, Japan, presented at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm on Monday.

The researchers will share a prize of 9 million Swedish kronor (just over $1 million). The therapy is created to remove this protein "brake" and allow the immune system to more quickly get to work fighting the cancer. Their research has led to the development of drugs that release that Human immune system against the cancer cells. Tasuku Honjo discovered a protein on immune cells and revealed that it also operates as a brake, but with a different mechanism of action.

The seminal discoveries represent a "paradigmatic shift in the fight against cancer", the Nobel committee said, since they do so not by targeting the tumor cells but by tweaking the immune system. But he made a switch that changed his life and helped show the value of rallying the immune system to fight cancer.

"For more than 100 years, scientists attempted to engage the immune system in the fight against cancer". A driving motivation for scientists is simply to push the frontiers of knowledge. He now works at Houston's M.D.

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

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His 1994 experiment was spectacularly successful, with mice with cancer cured by treatment with the antibodies that inhibit the brake and unlock antitumor T-cell activity. "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".

No literature prize is being given this year.

Therapy developed from Honjo's work led to long-term remission in patients with metastatic cancer that had been considered essentially untreatable, the Nobel Assembly said.

The winners of this year's physics prize will be announced on Tuesday, followed by the chemistry prize on Wednesday. The Nobel prize can only be awarded to individuals, but it is important to remember that others would have been involved in the discoveries.

The announcement in Helsinki was the first of several prizes to be given out this week.

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