M.D. Anderson's Dr. Jim Allison wins joint Nobel Prize in Medicine

M.D. Anderson's Dr. Jim Allison wins joint Nobel Prize in Medicine

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Allison conducted his research at the University of California-Berkeley and is now at the M.D. Anderson cancer center in Houston.

"Jim Allison's accomplishments on behalf of patients can not be overstated", says MD Anderson president Peter WT Pisters, M.D., in a statement.

The discoveries led to the creation of a multibillion-dollar market for new cancer medicines.

Allison's and Honjo's prize-winning work started in the 1990s and was part of significant advances in cancer immunotherapy.

The two immunologists - from the US and Japan, respectively - were awarded the Prize "for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation". Meanwhile, Honjo separately discovered a second protein on immune cells that also acted as a brake but with a different mechanism.

Meanwhile, Allison left UC Berkeley in 2004 for Memorial Sloan Kettering research center in NY to be closer to the drug companies shepherding his therapy through clinical trials, and to explore in more detail how checkpoint blockade works. Lower left: Antibodies (green) against CTLA-4 block the function of the brake leading to activation of T cells and attack on cancer cells.Upper right: PD-1 is another T-cell brake that inhibits T-cell activation. It is known commercially as Yervoy.




The scientists' work in the 1990s has since swiftly led to new and dramatically improved therapies for cancers such as melanoma and lung cancer, which had previously been extremely hard to treat. In other words, this cancer therapy relies somewhat on serendipity.

"I never dreamed my research would take the direction it has", he said in a statement on his university's website. "They are living proof of the power of basic science".

Perlmann said he had not yet managed to contact Allison. It was because of a sexual misconduct scandal that led to the decision was the Nobel assembly.

"I want to continue my research, so that this immune therapy will save more cancer patients than ever", he told reporters at the University of Kyoto where he is based. They established a new way to fight the disease.

"I was doing basic science to do basic science, but you know, I had the good opportunity to see it develop into something that actually does people good", Allison has said.

Allison said scientists need to better understand "how these drugs work and how they might best be combined with other therapies to improve treatment and reduce unwanted side effects". According to Curran, a paper that he, Allison, and their colleagues submitted received a review that read: "It is well known that immunotherapy only works in mice". Some of his leadership positions include serving as a co-leader of the Stand Up To Cancer-Cancer Research Institute Cancer Immunology Dream Team and as a director of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy (PICI). It was a breakthrough drug that turned an invariably fatal cancer that killed patients within months into one that could be cured, albeit in only a minority (about 20 percent) of patients.

A ceremony at which the prizes are bestowed will be held December 10.

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