Japanese, American scientists win Nobel Prize for breakthrough cancer treatment

Oct 06, 2018, 16:46
Japanese, American scientists win Nobel Prize for breakthrough cancer treatment

The two scientists will share the 9 million-Swedish-kronor ($1 million) prize.

In 1992, Honjo discovered PD-1, a protein expressed on the surface of a subset of immune cells known as T-cells.

Research by Allison's team has meanwhile led to the development of a monoclonal antibody drug, which was approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2011 for the treatment of melanoma.

Mr Carter was diagnosed in 2015 with the skin cancer melanoma, which had spread to his brain.

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T-cells, a kind of white blood cell that fights infections, carry proteins called checkpoints that the body uses to set the T-cells into attack mode or not.

Science advances on the efforts of many, he said.

One famous recipient of the new treatment is former USA president Jimmy Carter. The main focus of their research was to make sense of how cancer rendered the immune system weak and how the immune system could be enabled to fight back against the tumor.

Commenting on the Nobel announcement, Kevin Harrington, a professor at the Institute of Cancer Research in London, said the work had revolutionized cancer treatment. Therapies based on his method have also proved effective in fighting cancer.

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"Everybody wanted to do chemotherapy and radiation".

'It's considered a big step in the fight against cancer, ' Nobel committee member Klas Kärre said in an interview.

Honjo, of Kyoto University, discovered a new protein, the ligand PD-1, which also acted as a brake on immune cells. 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. "A driving motivation for scientists is simply to push the frontiers of knowledge". A single T-cell can kill thousands of cancer cells. "I had lung cancer and I thought I was playing my last round of golf, but now I am able to play golf again". "That was a blissful moment".

The winners of this year's physics prize will be announced on Tuesday, followed by the chemistry prize on Wednesday. He wants the fund to be at the institution because the "PD-1" protein, which enabled the development of Opdivo immunotherapy medicine to treat cancer and made him a Nobel prize victor, "was born at Kyoto University", he said. Their works were carried out separately in the 1990s and led to the generation of specific cancer drugs known as "Checkpoint inhibitors". Working in his lab at Kyoto University, Honjo's team figured out how to block PD-1 and unleash T-cells in a different way. In a statement, the university's president, Gregory L. Fenves, called Allison's work "heroic", adding that "he richly deserves the Nobel Prize".

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