advertisement
advertisement

Revolutionary cancer-fighting treatment earns scientists Nobel Prize in medicine

Revolutionary cancer-fighting treatment earns scientists Nobel Prize in medicine
Tasuku Honjo (left) and James P. Allison (right) [Photos: 大臣官房人事課/Wikimedia Commons; Gerbil/Wikimedia Commons]

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018 was awarded to two scientists who figured out ways to use the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo will share the 2018 prize and its $1.01 million cash reward for their parallel discoveries in “cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation,” which constitutes a “landmark in our fight against cancer,” according to a statement Monday from the Nobel Assembly of the Karolinska Institute.

Allison, of the University of Texas, studied a protein that acts as a brake on the immune system and the potential of releasing that brake; over in Japan, Kyoto University’s Honjo worked on stimulating the body’s immune system’s ability to attack tumors, discovering a new protein on immune cells and eventually found that it also acts as a brake. For years scientists have tried to conscript the immune system into the fight against cancer, but Allison’s and Honjo’s work are true breakthroughs that “revolutionized cancer treatment” and fundamentally changed how cancer is treated.

advertisement
advertisement