GENE ONLINE|News &
Opinion
Blog

2018-10-02| Technology

Cancer immunotherapy researchers earn prestigious Nobel for 2018

by Rajaneesh K. Gopinath
Share To

This year’s prize in Physiology or Medicine honors the discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation

By Rajaneesh K Gopinath

The Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institutet announced yesterday about their decision to jointly award James Allison, PhD, and Tasuku Honjo, MD, PhD for their separate pioneering works in “immune checkpoint” cancer therapy. Dr. Allison, also the recipient of the 2015 Lasker award is currently the chair of the department of immunology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston while Dr. Honjo is a professor of immunology and genomic medicine at Kyoto University in Japan.

Although the utilization of our body’s own immune cells to counter cancer progression had been conceptualized much earlier, it was considered a fantasy until the seminal works of these scientists. In the mid 1990s, Dr. Allison’s research demonstrated that cytotoxic T-lymphocyte antigen 4 (CTLA-4), a receptor molecule expressed on T cells, acts as a brake to prevent immune response. CTLA-4 was originally identified by the French immunologists Pierre Golstein and colleagues in the late 1980s and it was hoped to be used to treat autoimmune diseases. However, Dr. Allison tested whether tumors could be targeted by immune cells by releasing the brakes applied by CTL-4. This led to the development of a monoclonal antibody against CTLA-4 that resulted in tumor regression in mice. The antibody Ipilimumab (trade name YervoyTM, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Princeton, NJ), was approved by the USFDA in 2011 for the successful treatment for advanced-stage melanoma.

On the other hand, in 1992, Dr. Honjo and coworkers discovered a new protein, Programmed Death 1 (PD-1) on T cells, another molecule that could act as a brake in the activation of the immune system by binding to PD-L1 on other cells. In fact, many cancers fooled the immune system by expressing PD-L1 on their surfaces. Blocking PD-1 with antibodies effectively reduced the size of tumors. This led to the development and approval of anti-PD-1 drugs like Keytruda (Merck & Co.) and Opdivo (Bristol-Myers Squibb) in 2014. Although met with initial skepticism over possible side effects, cancer immunotherapy has rapidly risen to the status of an effective therapeutic strategy against cancer in a short time making this award a well-deserved recognition for excellence in science.

References

  1. https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2018/press-release/
  2. https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/10/cancer-immunotherapy-pioneers-win-medicine-nobel

Note: Stay tuned to Geneonline for our special article on these Nobel laureates.

 

©www.geneonline.com All rights reserved. Collaborate with us: service@geneonlineasia.com
Related Post
Illumina Genomics Forum Highlights – President Obama, Novel Sequencer, Bill Gates
2022-11-17
Walmart To Settle Opioid Lawsuits with $3.1 Billion, U.S. Government Mulls OTC Naloxone
2022-11-15
R&D
Senescent Cancer Cells Vaccine Boost Immune Response
2022-11-07
LATEST
Repairing Genetic Mutations in Neurological Diseases with RNA Targeting Strategy
2022-11-25
AstraZeneca Thailand Wins Two ACES Awards 2022: “Industry Champions of the Year” and “Community Initiative”
2022-11-24
Mabwell Announces the U.S. FDA approval of 9MW3011 (FIC) for IND
2022-11-24
Novartis Shifts Gear To Phase 3 For Anti-Malaria Drug
2022-11-24
Moving Past Animal Models with Better Data for Drug Discovery
2022-11-23
IonOpticks ushers in a new age of proteomics with Aurora Frontier
2022-11-23
Korea Ginseng Corp.: As an adaptogenic herb, Korean red ginseng boosts the human immune response
2022-11-23
EVENT
2022-12-01
BIOCHINA 2022
Online
2022-12-10
64TH ASH ANNUAL MEETING & EXPOSITION
New Orleans, USA
2022-12-14
BIOHK2022
Hong Kong, China
2023-01-07
7th Asia Microbiome Conference
Taipei, Taiwan
Scroll to Top

Create an account with us now to say goodbye to all the pop-ups!