American, Japanese cancer researchers share Nobel Prize in medicine


Checkpoint inhibitors have proved to be stunningly successful treatments for many different kinds of cancer, in particular, melanoma.

The physics prize is to be announced Tuesday, followed by chemistry. Anderson Cancer Center. Honju works at Japan's Kyoto University. He holds the Vivian Smith Distinguished Chair in Immunology and serves as deputy director of the David H. Koch Center for Applied Research in Genitourinary Cancers in the Department of Genitourinary Medical Oncology.

While in theory it should work for most forms of cancer, it's most effective on those with the highest numbers of mutations such as melanomas, lung cancer and smoking, he added.

The duo will share the Nobel prize sum of nine million Swedish kronor (about $1.01 million or 870,000 euros).

Allison said Monday that his son called at 5:30 a.m. and was the first to tell him that he'd won.

"Jim Allison's accomplishments on behalf of patients can not be overstated", said MD Anderson President Peter WT Pisters, M.D. She and Allison are longtime collaborators in immunotherapy research.

What effect do they have on cancers?

Karolinska Institute immunologist Klas Kärre, a member of the Nobel Committee, then gave a more in-depth explanation of the research behind this year's prize.

"Time is right", Kärre said.

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Jedd Wolchok is the chief of melanoma and immunotherapy at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY.

Bristol-Myers Squibb's CTLA-4 therapy Yervoy was the first such drug to win approval, in 2011.

Yes, the CTLA-4 antibody inhibitor ipilimumab and PD-1 inhibitors pembrolizumab and nivolumab have all been approved as therapies for treating melanoma in combination with cancer vaccines. He became determined to make breakthroughs in cancer treatment after a classmate died on gastric cancer in the 1960s.

"Honjo sounded extremely pleased", Perlmann said.

"I'm honoured and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition", Allison said in a statement released by the university's MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, where he is a professor.

Allison grew up in a small town in South Texas where his country-doctor father made house calls.

Last year, U.S. geneticists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash and Michael Young were awarded the medicine prize for their research on the role of genes in setting the "circadian clock" which regulates sleep and eating patterns, hormones and body temperature.

In 2014, Dr. Allison was awarded a Canada Gairdner International Award for his pioneering work on checkpoint inhibitors, making him the 88th victor of the prestigious Canadian prize to go on to claim a Nobel.

In December, Allison will be honored at the Nobel ceremonies in Stockholm - and he said that he looks forward to seeing fellow honoree Honjo in Stockholm, as well.