Two scientists share 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine

China Plus Published: 2018-10-01 18:17:28
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Members of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine sit in front of a screen displaying James P Allison (L) and Tasuku Honju, the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, during a press conference at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 1, 2018. [Photo: Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP]

Members of the Nobel Committee for Physiology or Medicine sit in front of a screen displaying James P Allison (L) and Tasuku Honju, the winners of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, during a press conference at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden, on October 1, 2018. [Photo: Jonathan NACKSTRAND / AFP]

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been announced by the Nobel Committee in Stockholm, Sweden. 

Secretary-General of the Nobel Committee Thomas Perlmann made the announcement. 

"The Nobel Assembly at Karolinska Institutet has today decided to award the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine jointly to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation," says Thomas Perlmann.

Nobel Committee Member Klas Karre, a professor of molecular immunology, summed up the achievements of the two winners with a metaphor. 

"It is all about interference with the brakes of our immune system as a means to unleash this defence."

James Allison studied a known protein that functions as a brake on the immune system. He realized the potential of releasing the brake and thereby unleashing our immune cells to attack tumors. He then developed this concept into a brand new approach for treating patients. 

Meanwhile, Tasuku Honjo discovered a protein on immune cells and after careful exploration of its function, eventually revealed that it also operates as a brake, but with a different mechanism of action. Therapies based on his discovery proved to be strikingly effective in cancer treatment. Millions of patients will benefit from their discoveries. 

Allison was born in Texas in 1948, and has been a professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center Houston since 2012. 

Tasuku Honjo was born in Kyoto, Japan in 1942. Since 1984, he has been a professor at Kyoto University. He was a Faculty Dean from 1996-2000 and from 2002 -2004 at Kyoto University. 

They will receive their prize from the hands of the Swedish King Karl XVI Gustaf on December 10. 

This was the first Nobel Prize to be announced for this year. 

Today, the Nobel Prize in Physics will be announced, followed by the Chemistry prize on Wednesday. 

This year there will be no Nobel Prize in Literature. 

The peace prize will be announced in Oslo on Friday and the Economic Prize in memory of Alfred Nobel will be announced on 8th of Oct.

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