Why did this work win the Nobel prize? 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.
Allison and Honjo will be honoured at an official Nobel ceremony in Stockholm in December, and will share the nine million Swedish kronor (£775,000) prize money. At UCSF since 2001, Krummel says Allison's mentorship has decisively shaped his career as an immunologist, especially Allison's encouragement of out-of-the-box, curiosity-driven thinking about immunology's therapeutic promise. "By stimulating the ability of our immune system to attack tumor cells, this year's #NobelPrize laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy". Proteins on the surface of a T cell tell the immune system to kick into overdrive and ready it to destroy foreign threats - but others act as blocks, telling the immune system to slow down. Allison won for his work in launching an effective new way to attack cancer by treating the immune system rather than the tumor, according to a release.
On a separate front, I'm moderating two roundtable dinners later this month (one in NY and one in Palo Alto) for senior leaders who are interested in artificial intelligence and how it's impacting business. Hundreds of clinical trials are now underway to test CTLA-4, PD-1 and other drugs that use the immune system to fight various cancers. Bluestone is now the A.W. and Mary Margaret Clausen Distinguished Professor at UCSF and the founding president and CEO of the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.
Honjo was recognized for his discovery of a protein on immune cells that helped the development of an immunotherapeutic drug against cancer. Their discoveries are a landmark in the fight against cancer, the committee said. As Allison told me in an on-stage interview two years ago: "In the early days, people just tried to turn [the immune system] on, to pour more gas in it, to push harder on the pedal-without really knowing how it worked".More news: US Withdrawing From Treaty With Iran After International Court of Justice Ruling
"I never dreamed my research would take the direction it has", he said.
"I didn't set out to study cancer, but to understand the biology of T cells, these incredible cells that travel our bodies and work to protect us", Allison said in a statement released by the MD Anderson Cancer Center, where he is chairman of immunology.
Krummel is now a professor and Robert E. Smith Endowed Chair in the Department of Pathology and member of the UCSF Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Cancer Center.
After studying for a few years in the United States, where he was exposed to the latest research on genes and immunology, he made a decision to return to Japan and continue his research there, partly because he wanted to give his children a Japanese education. Subsequent research has led to agents targeting additional immune checkpoints, often PD-1 and PD-L1, to treat a range of cancers including head and neck, gastric kidney, bladder, gastric, liver, colorectal, and cervical cancers, and Hodgkin lymphoma. "It's a model on which we've based the UCSF ImmunoX program". In the U.S., some have reportedly asked their doctors to immediately use immunotherapy instead of traditional treatments like chemotherapy, even when they are more effective.