Tue Oct 2nd, 2018 at 01:13:54 PM EST
Thank you doctor Allison for your dedication and excellent work ... the basic science is now used in cancer treatment I need to lengthen the years I have left to live. I'm almost through the first six months of chemotherapy and will build further resistance with immunotherapy. I'm doing fine and still manage to do all my activities although in close harmony with my energy level and being aware of the needs of my physical well being.
Furthermore great appreciation for the Dutch healthcare insurance where no one is excluded and my treatment started in a matter of weeks after all tests were performed.
More below the fold ...
James P Allison and Tasuku Honjo win Nobel prize for medicine | The Guardian |
Two scientists who discovered how to harness the body's immune system to fight cancer have won the 2018 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine.
James Allison, of the US, and Tasuku Honjo, of Japan, will share the 9m Swedish kronor (£775,000) prize, announced by the Nobel assembly at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm.
The scientists' groundbreaking work on the immune system has paved the way for a new class of cancer drugs that are already dramatically changing outcomes for patients. It is the first time the development of a cancer therapy has been recognised with a Nobel prize.
Allison said he was in a "state of shock" about having achieved "every scientist's dream".
The immune system normally seeks out and destroys mutated cells, but cancer finds sophisticated ways to hide from immune attacks. One way is by ramping up braking mechanisms designed to prevent immune cells from attacking normal tissue. In the 1990s, Allison discovered the first of these built-in brakes, known as checkpoints. Other teams were investigating the potential of enhancing the action of checkpoints to treat autoimmune diseases, but Allison showed that doing the reverse - switching off the brakes - could produce remarkable results in treating mice with cancer.
The Texas T Cell Mechanic
"Once you've generated T cells that can
recognize cancer, you've got them basically
for the rest of your life."
James Allison, Ph.D., knows his T cells. For the past 30 years, he's studied them inside and out, learning what makes them run and hum. From his laboratory have emerged some of the most important discoveries in immunology.
In the early 1980s, Allison was one of the first to identify the T cell receptor--the part of a T cell that binds to antigen and functions as the T cell's ignition switch. A few years later, in 1992, he showed that a molecule called CD28 functions as the T cell's gas pedal. Then, in 1995, when no one else was even thinking there would be such a thing, he identified the T cell's brakes, in the process opening up a whole new vista in cancer treatment.
Known as checkpoint blockade, the treatment approach uses antibodies to block the action of this braking molecule, called CTLA-4. By "taking the brakes off" the immune response, the treatment enables a more powerful anti-cancer response.
Some of the most dramatic clinical responses seen in recent years have occurred with checkpoint blockade antibodies, including ipilimumab (anti-CTLA-4) and nivolumab (anti-PD-1). Fittingly, in 2013, Science magazine named cancer immunotherapy the "breakthrough of the year," citing Allison's work in particular.
James Allison Has Unfinished Business with Cancer
The drug, the first of the checkpoint inhibitors, would become known as ipilimumab or Yervoy, and it is now sold by Bristol-Myers Squibb, a pharmaceutical company headquartered in Manhattan. Human studies began around 2000 on 14 patients stricken with metastatic melanoma, who were steeling themselves for their finals days in hospice. But after the trial began, three saw their tumors shrink. Allison, who moved to New York City's Memorial Sloan Kettering in 2004 to be closer to the trials, soon met one of the patients his drug had saved. Sharon Belvin was in her 20s, and had just finished college and gotten married, when metastatic melanomas appeared in her lungs, liver, and brain. She was terminal by the time her physician enrolled her in the first phase II clinical trial. The day Allison met her, she'd been in remission for a year.