The Nobel Prize for Physiology and Medicine was awarded to James P. Allison, left, and Tasuku Honjo on Monday for their work on cancer research.The Nobel Medicine Prize 2018 has been awarded jointly to James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their ‘Discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation‘.Dr. Allison and Dr. Honjo, working separately, showed in the 1990s how certain proteins act as “brakes” on the immune system’s T-cells, limiting their ability to attack cancer cells, and that suppressing those proteins could transform the body’s ability to fight cancer.
Allisonstudied 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.
Tasuku Honjodiscovered 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.
Medicine is the first of the Nobel Prizes awarded each year. The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were created in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901.