Two Scientists Who Helped Treat Incurable Cancers Win Nobel Medicine Prize
The Nobel Prize for medicine was awarded today to two researchers from the United States and Japan. James Allison of the University of Texas and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University were awarded for advances in advances in fighting cancer.
According to the news, the prize worth just over $1 million, will be shared by the two laureates. The work of the scientists revealed how proteins affect the body’s immune system. Allison and Honjo began their prize-winning research way back in the 1990s. Their ongoing findings have been instrumental in major advances in immunotherapy.
Allison’s studies resulted in the development of a new treatment for the dreaded disease, while Honjo’s discovery of a new protein demonstrated a “braking” characteristic that affects immune cells. Allison commented that he was “honored and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition.” The scientist went on to explain that he had never taken up the research to study cancer, “but to understand the biology of T cells.
Meanwhile, a therapy developed from Honjo’s work has led to long-term remission in patients with metastatic cancer which were previously thought to be incurable.
The Nobel Assembly at Sweden's Karolinska Institute issued a statement saying:
"The seminal discoveries by the two Laureates constitute a landmark in our 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 statement went on to explain that the treatments the scientists helped launch are what’s known as "immune checkpoint therapy." According to the announcement, the work of the two scientists has completely altered the outcomes of some patients with advanced cancers.
Allison’s and Honjo’s work has created a multibillion-dollar market for new cancer medicines. One drug, in particular, drugs that target the PD-1 blockade have made millions for companies creating the drug to combat melanoma, lung and bladder cancers.
The Nobel Prize for medicine is traditionally the first prize awarded each year. The subsequent yearly awarded cover achievements in science, literature, and peace. The award was created in the will of the famous inventor of dynamite, Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since back in 1901.