The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018 was awarded jointly to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo "for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation."

Cancer kills millions of people every year and is one of humanity's greatest health challenges. 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.

James P. Allison studied a known protein that functions as a brake on the immune system. He realized the potential of releasing the brake and thereby unleashing our immune cells to attack tumors. He then developed this concept into a brand new approach for treating patients.

In parallel, Tasuku Honjo discovered a protein on immune cells and, after careful exploration of its function, eventually revealed that it also operates as a brake, but with a different mechanism of action. Therapies based on his discovery proved to be strikingly effective in the fight against cancer.

Allison and Honjo showed how different strategies for inhibiting the brakes on the immune system can be used in the treatment of cancer. The seminal discoveries by the two Laureates constitute a landmark in our fight against cancer.

James P. Allison was born 1948 in Alice, Texas, USA. He received his PhD in 1973 at the University of Texas, Austin. From 1974-1977 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, California. From 1977-1984 he was a faculty member at University of Texas System Cancer Center, Smithville, Texas; from 1985-2004 at University of California, Berkeley and from 2004-2012 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. From 1997-2012 he was an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 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.

Tasuku Honjo was born in 1942 in Kyoto, Japan. In 1966 he became an MD, and from 1971-1974 he was a research fellow in USA at Carnegie Institution of Washington, Baltimore and at the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland. He received his PhD in 1975 at Kyoto University. From 1974-1979 he was a faculty member at Tokyo University and from 1979-1984 at Osaka University. Since 1984 he has been Professor at Kyoto University. He was a Faculty Dean from 1996-2000 and from 2002-2004 at Kyoto University.

Most Popular Now

AstraZeneca COVID-19 vaccine Vaxzevria authorised …

AstraZeneca's COVID-19 vaccine, Vaxzevria (ChAdOx1-S [Recombinant]), formerly AZD1222, has been granted a special approval for emergency use in Japan for active immunisat...

Pfizer and BioNTech to supply the European Union w…

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE: PFE) and BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) announced a new agreement with the European Commission (EC) to supply 900 million doses of COMIRNATY®, the companie...

Takeda announces approval of Moderna's COVID-19 va…

Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE:4502/NYSE:TAK) ("Takeda") today announced that the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare (MHLW) granted special approval under...

Sanofi and GSK initiate global Phase 3 clinical ef…

Today, Sanofi and GlaxoSmithKline plc (GSK) started enrolment in their Phase 3 clinical study to assess the safety, efficacy and immunogenicity of their adjuvanted recomb...

Sanofi and GSK COVID-19 vaccine candidate demonstr…

The Sanofi and GSK adjuvanted recombinant COVID-19 vaccine candidate achieved strong rates of neutralizing antibody responses, in line with those measured in people who h...

European Commission approves Venclyxto-based combi…

Roche (SIX: RO, ROG; OTCQX: RHHBY) today announced that the European Commission has approved Venclyxto® (venetoclax) in combination with hypomethylating agents, azacitidi...

Novartis reaches milestone delivery of 1 billion c…

Novartis announced that it has delivered one billion courses of antimalarial treatment since 1999. More than 90% of this artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) was s...

COVID-19 mRNA vaccines are immunogenic in pregnant…

Pregnant women with symptomatic COVID-19 have a higher risk of intensive care unit admissions, mechanical ventilation and death compared to non-pregnant reproductive age ...

Why are some COVID-19 vaccines working better for …

MSU researcher is studying, raising awareness about the role of sex in the efficacy of vaccines that make use of nanomedicine. If there's one take-home message for the...

Rogue antibodies wreak havoc in severe COVID-19 ca…

The development of antibodies to the COVID-19 virus has been the great long-term hope of ending the pandemic. However, immune system turncoats are also major culprits in ...

New vaccine platform: 'Two-one replicon-and-VLP-mi…

To stop the current SARS-CoV-2 pandemic, vaccines of high quality, safety, and efficacy are required. Scientists of the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut and the Ludwig Maximilian Un...

COVID-19 monoclonal antibodies reduce risk of hosp…

Monoclonal antibodies, a COVID-19 treatment given early after coronavirus infection, cut the risk of hospitalization and death by 60% in those most likely to suffer compl...