US, Japanese pair win Nobel Medicine Prize for cancer therapy
The pair were honoured 'for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation,' the Nobel Assembly said.
STOCKHOLM - Two immunologists, James Allison of the US and Tasuku Honjo of Japan, won the 2018 Nobel Medicine Prize for research that has revolutionised the treatment of cancer, the jury said on Monday.
The pair were honoured "for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation," the Nobel Assembly said.
Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy targets proteins made by some immune system cells, as well as some cancer cells.
The proteins can stop the body's natural defences from killing cancer cells. The therapy is designed to remove this protein "brake" and allow the immune system to more quickly get to work fighting the cancer.
Allison, a professor at the University of Texas, and Honjo, a professor at Kyoto University, in 2014 won the Tang Prize, touted as Asia's version of the Nobels, for their research.
BREAKING NEWS— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 1, 2018
The 2018 #NobelPrize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.” pic.twitter.com/gk69W1ZLNI
This year’s #NobelPrize constitutes a landmark in our fight against cancer. The discovery made by the two Medicine Laureates takes advantage of the immune system’s ability to attack cancer cells by releasing the brakes on immune cells. pic.twitter.com/2mppP3NT19— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 1, 2018
2018 #NobelPrize laureate James P. Allison studied a protein that functions as a brake on the immune system. He realised the potential of releasing the brake and unleashing our immune cells to attack tumours. He developed this concept into a new approach for treating patients. pic.twitter.com/MWYS3DnD8n— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 1, 2018
Tasuku Honjo, awarded the 2018 #NobelPrize, discovered a protein on immune cells and 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. pic.twitter.com/3yn2RCtr6W— The Nobel Prize (@NobelPrize) October 1, 2018
The duo will share the Nobel prize sum of nine million Swedish kronor (about $1.01 million or 870,000 euros).
They will receive their prize from King Carl XVI Gustaf at a formal ceremony in Stockholm on 10 December, the anniversary of the 1896 death of Alfred Nobel who created the prizes in his last will and testament.
Last year, US geneticists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young were awarded the medicine prize for their research on the role of genes in setting the "circadian clock" which regulates sleep and eating patterns, hormones and body temperature.
The winners of this year's physics prize will be announced on Tuesday, followed by the chemistry prize on Wednesday. The peace prize will be announced on Friday, and the economics prize will wrap up the Nobel season on Monday, 8 October.
For the first time since 1949, the Swedish Academy has postponed the announcement of the 2018 Nobel Literature Prize until next year, amid a #MeToo scandal and bitter internal dispute that has prevented it from functioning properly.