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Japanese animation master Isao Takahata, best known for 'Grave of the Fireflies,' dies at 82

The Japan Times

AFP-JIJI – Isao Takahata, the Japanese animated film director who co-founded Studio Ghibli and is known for his award-winning "Grave of the Fireflies," died of lung cancer Thursday at a Tokyo hospital, Studio Ghibli announced Friday. Takahata, who was born in Mie Prefecture, co-founded Ghibli with renowned animator Hayao Miyazaki in 1985 and produced a number of films that earned widespread acclaim. His latest film, "The Tale of the Princess Kaguya," earned him an Academy Award nomination in 2014 for best animated feature. It was also selected for a slot in the Directors' Fortnight sidebar to the main competition at the 2014 Cannes Film Festival. However, most consider 1988's "Grave of the Fireflies," a film based on Akiyuki Nosaka's novel of the same name, depicting the struggles of a young boy and his sister in the final month of World War II, to be his best work.


James Allison, Tasuku Honjo win Nobel for cancer research

FOX News

James Allison of the University of Texas and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University will share the 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize for 2018. Researchers from the United States and Japan won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday for discoveries that help the body marshal its cellular troops to attack invading cancers. One cancer doctor said "an untold number of lives ... have been saved by the science that they pioneered." James Allison of the University of Texas and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University will share the 9-million-kronor ($1.01 million) prize for 2018. Their parallel work concerned proteins that act as brakes on the body's immune system.


Discoveries that revolutionized cancer care win Japanese and U.S. researchers a Nobel Prize in medicine

The Japan Times

The two researchers, from Japan and the U.S., who won the Nobel Prize in medicine on Monday are credited for discoveries that have revolutionized cancer care, turning the body's immune system loose to fight tumors. James Allison of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University learned how cancer can put the brakes on the immune system -- and how to release those brakes. Their work, conducted separately during the 1990s, led to the development of drugs known as "checkpoint inhibitors," first used to treat the deadly skin cancer melanoma but now used for a growing list of advanced-stage tumors, including those of the lungs, head and neck, bladder, kidney, colon and liver. The drugs marked an entirely new way to treat tumors, a kind of immunotherapy that uses the patient's own body to kill cancer cells. Up until then, the standard arsenal consisted of surgery to remove the tumor and radiation and chemotherapy to poison the cancer.


Japanese professor Tasuku Honjo wins Nobel in medicine, together with U.S. scientist, for work on cancer therapy

The Japan Times

STOCKHOLM – Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo was awarded on Monday this year's Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine, for his discovery of a protein that contributed to the development of an immunotherapeutic drug against cancer. Honjo, a 76-year-old professor at Kyoto University, won the prize with U.S. national James Allison, the Nobel Assembly at the Karolinska Institute said. Honjo opened a pathway for a new cancer treatment by discovering the PD-1 protein, which is responsible for suppressing immune response. "I'm very honored and pleased to receive the Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine," Honjo told a news conference following the announcement. His method of treating cancer -- by controlling the protein's function to suppress immunity -- led to the development of Nivolumab, a drug marketed as Opdivo and used against lung cancer and melanoma.


Japanese Nobel laureate Tasuku Honjo to sue Ono Pharmaceutical over cancer drug patent royalties

The Japan Times

KYOTO - Nobel laureate Tasuku Honjo plans to bring his patent royalty dispute with Ono Pharmaceutical Co. to court as early as September, seeking an additional payment of ¥15 billion, according to informed sources. In the planned lawsuit with the Osaka District Court, Honjo will claim that he is entitled to 10 percent, or about ¥15.4 billion, of the amount Ono Pharmaceutical and U.S. drug maker Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. received from U.S. drug giant Merck & Co. when they settled a patent infringement lawsuit. Ono Pharmaceutical set aside some ¥400 million at a regional legal affairs bureau from January 2017 to March 2018 to make payments to Honjo. Honjo, a professor at Kyoto University, won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with a U.S. scientist for their immunology research that led to the development of the cancer drug Opdivo, which is at the center of the royalty dispute. In October 2006, Honjo and Ono Pharmaceutical entered into a contract that limited his compensation to 1 percent or less of the drug's sales.