An American cancer researcher will share the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with another scientist for discovering a “landmark” cancer therapy that uses the body’s immune system to attack cancer, the Nobel Assembly announced Monday.
James P. Allison of the University of Texas and Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo separately studied proteins that act as a “brake” on the immune system in the 1990s.
“[Allison] realized the potential of releasing the brake and thereby unleashing our immune cells to attack tumors,” according to a Nobel Assembly press release. “He then developed this concept into a brand new approach for treating patients.”
Allison is a cancer survivor and lost his mother to lymphoma when he was 11 years old, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Cancer treatments using therapies based on Allison’s and Honjo’s findings are being offered by several drug companies, and the therapy has been found to be most effective in lung cancer and melanoma, reported the WSJ. (RELATED: Think Twice Before Hopping On That Scooter: Major Cities Deal With Accidents And Even Deaths)
“Until the seminal discoveries by the two laureates, progress into clinical development was modest,” the Nobel Assembly stated in a press release Monday. “Checkpoint therapy has now revolutionized cancer treatment and has fundamentally changed the way we view how cancer can be managed.”
Other Nobel Prizes for physics, chemistry and more will be announced over the next week, according to The New York Times.
The Nobel Prize Award Ceremony is scheduled for Dec. 10.
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