Japan's Tasuku Honjo wins Nobel medicine prize for work on anticancer care

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On the website of his University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Allison said he was "honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition". For many scientists, he said, a driving motivation "is simply to push the frontiers of knowledge". That's because, in spite of this ability to blend in with the normal, cancer cells are often caught and killed by our remarkably vigilant immune system, which manages to recognize certain key markers, or antigens, on their cell surfaces that identify them as not-quite-right.

Tap here to watch an animation on how it works. He is married to physician Padmanee Sharma, a scientific collaborator and a specialist in renal, bladder and prostate cancers at M.D. Anderson. However, he expressed hope that further progress is seen in related studies due to the high costs required for the treatment, which are said to top over ¥10 million per person annually. "The significance of immunotherapy as a form of cancer treatment will be felt for generations to come".

'Therapies based on his discovery proved to be strikingly effective in the fight against cancer, ' the assembly said in a statement.

Dr. Allison and Dr. Honjo showed releasing the brakes on the immune system can unleash its power to attack cancer.

Allison developed an antibody to block CTLA-4, which turned into the drug ipilimumab, used to fight metastatic melanoma.

His research also led to the first-ever immune checkpoint inhibitor drug.

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Indeed, a drug based on Professor Honjo's research was used to treat former United States president Jimmy Carter, who was diagnosed in 2015 with melanoma that had spread to his brain.

Allison's work led to development of the first immune checkpoint inhibitor drug, according to MD Anderson Cancer Center.

"We know that some patients have a very low chance of responding. those with little evidence that these pathways are actively restricting the immune system, or those with cancers that are less heavily mutated", he said.

"Science advances on the efforts of many", Allison said. He performed his prize-winning studies at the University of California Berkeley and at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY. Treatments that focus on the immune system or immunotherapy is widely acknowledged as one of the most exciting potential treatments for cancer. It was because of a sexual misconduct scandal that led to the decision was the Nobel assembly. Up until then, the standard arsenal consisted of surgery to remove the tumour and radiation and chemotherapy to poison the cancer. In some cases, some cancer cells also contain these proteins which allow the cells invade the body without much struggle. Allison tells The Times that patients are "good to go for a decade or more".

"As a basic scientist, to have my work really impact people is just one of the best things", he said.