2018 Nobel Prize for medicine goes to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo
The 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine has been awarded jointly to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.
James P. 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.
In parallel, 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 the fight against cancer.
The seminal discoveries by the two Laureates are considered to “constitute a landmark in our fight against cancer”.