Nobel Medicine Prize awarded to duo for cancer research

Nobel Medicine Prize awarded to duo for cancer research

Nobel Medicine Prize awarded to duo for cancer research

Allison, professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in the United States, worked on a protein known as CTLA-4 and realised during his work that if this could be blocked, a brake would be released, unleashing immune cells to attack tumours.

Honjo, of Kyoto University, discovered a new protein, the ligand PD-1, which also acted as a brake on immune cells.

The methods are responsible for the development of cancer immunotherapy, which is included with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy as approaches to fighting cancer. Tasuku Honjo discovered a protein on immune cells and revealed that it also operates as a brake, but with a different mechanism of action.

Allison and Honjo did parallel work to stimulate the body's immune system's ability to attack tumors.

The American Cancer Society's chief medical officer says he and colleagues gave a celebratory toast to Allison at a party on Friday - days before the announcement of the Nobel Prize in Medicine - because they agreed this could be his year. In 2000, the researchers described PD-L1, programmed death-ligand 1, a protein found on normal cell and cancer cells that binds to PD-1, and a year later, the team reported a second molecule that binds to PD-1, PD-L2. Since then, the agency has approved at least four other PD-1 inhibitors for the treatment of nine types of cancer.

After his bachelor's in microbiology and his doctorate in biological sciences from the University of Texas, Allison went to Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation near San Diego, for his postdoctoral fellowship.

"I'm honored and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition", Allison said.

The treatments, often referred to as "immune checkpoint therapy", have "fundamentally changed the outcome for certain groups of patients with advanced cancer", it added.

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"I was doing basic science to do basic science, but you know, I had the good opportunity to see it develop into something that actually does people good", Allison has said.

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

In 2016, after being treated with a drug inspired by Prof Honjo's research, he announced that he no longer needed treatment.

Therapies based on his discovery proved to be strikingly effective in the fight against cancer when put to the test, particularly during a key study in 2012.

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.

The literature prize will not be handed out this year after the awarding body was hit by a sexual misconduct scandal.

The Nobel Prize for physics is set to be announced on Tuesday.

Medicine is the first of the Nobel Prizes awarded each year.

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