Houston Scientist Wins Nobel Prize

Houston Scientist Wins Nobel Prize

"Until the seminal discoveries by the two laureates, progress into clinical development was modest", the release stated.

They will share a $1-million award that comes with the prize.

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.

Honjo's method of treating cancer by controlling the protein's function to suppress immunity led to the development of Opdivo, a drug used against lung cancer and melanoma. Treatments that focus on the immune system or immunotherapy is widely acknowledged as one of the most exciting potential treatments for cancer. His path-breaking discovery was realising how releasing this break would help unleash the immune cells, which would then attack the tumours. This practice contrasts with radiation therapy and standard chemotherapy, which directly attack cancerous tumors. In cancer the patient's immune system becomes weak and is not able to fight against tumor but the latest medicine will enable patients to strengthen and fight cancer through their own body mechanisms.

The prize recognises Allison's basic science discoveries on the biology of T cells, the adaptive immune system's soldiers, and his invention of immune checkpoint blockade to treat cancer. By empowering the human immune system, the body's natural defences can put up a fight against cancer.

"A driving motivation for scientists is simply to push the frontier of knowledge". "The immune system was neglected because there was no strong evidence it could be effective".

Honjo intends to donate his prize money to a foundation supporting young researchers, according to officials of Kyoto University. Honojo's lab discovered when they injected antibodies against PD-1 that cancer cells could no longer dupe the T-cells.

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"He told me, 'Thanks to you I can play golf again, '" he recalled. As a researcher, "I like being on the edge and being wrong a lot".

Dr. Otis W. Brawley, a close friend of Allison's, said the Nobel committee usually waits about ten years to make sure a scientific discovery "sticks as being really important".

Allison takes care in his statement from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston to give credit to "a succession of graduate students, postdoctoral fellows and colleagues at MD Anderson, the University of California, Berkeley, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center" who joined in the research.

The MD Anderson immunologist was featured in a 2015 report by KPRC2.

A previous version of this story identified Allison as affiliated with University of Texas at Austin. Drugs based on his findings also work in combination with Yervoy against a number of types of cancer.

Prof Honjo wants to continue his research, "so that this immune therapy will save more cancer patients than ever".

The physics prize is to be announced Tuesday, followed by chemistry.

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