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.


Nobel Prize winner Tasuku Honjo calls for better-funded and more imaginative pharma industry in Japan

The Japan Times

KYOTO – On the evening of Oct. 1, Dr. Tasuku Honjo was in his office at Kyoto University discussing a manuscript with two of his colleagues when a secretary came dashing in to announce there was a call from Sweden. Shortly afterward, details of that call would make news around the world: Honjo, 76, along with Dr. James Allison, 70, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, were jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel for Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering work in immunology -- work that has helped pave the way for a new generation of cancer treatment and drugs. In a recent interview in the same office where he took the Nobel Assembly's call, Honjo admitted his surprise -- it's not every day one is informed of a Nobel Prize win -- but he was also skeptical, for the same reasons. "The person who called me raised the issue (of prank calling), and so he asked me if I would like email confirmation during the call," Honjo said. "I said, 'Of course, yes.'"


American and Japanese immunologists are awarded Nobel Medicine Prize

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Two immunologists, James Allison from the University of Texas Austin and Tasuku Honjo from Kyoto University, have won the 2018 Nobel Medicine Prize for research that has revolutionised the treatment of cancer. The pair were honoured'for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation,' the Nobel Assembly said. Immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy targets proteins made by some immune system cells, as well as some cancer cells. The proteins can stop the body's natural defences from killing cancer cells. The therapy is designed to remove this protein'brake' and allow the immune system to more quickly get to work fighting the cancer.


Nobel laureate Tasuku Honjo hopes Japan invests more in science

The Japan Times

KYOTO – Nobel Prize-winning scientist Tasuku Honjo voiced hope on Tuesday that Japan would invest more in science, a day after he was chosen for this year's award in physiology or medicine along with American James Allison for their studies on cancer therapy. "I was able to prove that it is not rare for fundamental research to lead to applications," Honjo, 76, said at a news conference held at Kyoto University, where he is currently a professor. "Science is an investment for the future." News that Honjo became the 26th Japanese Nobel Prize winner was met with a shower of praise from cancer patient groups and the Japanese government on Monday. "Cancer patients are being saved by (the new cancer medicine) Opdivo, which originated from a study carried out by the Japanese researcher.


Nobel laureates: Despite progress, 'world will never be cancer-free'

The Japan Times

STOCKHOLM – The winners of this year's Nobel Prize for Medicine say they expect substantial advances toward treating cancer in the next several decades, although it is unlikely the disease could be eradicated. James Allison of the United States and Tasuku Honjo of Japan made the assessments at a Thursday news conference ahead of receiving the 9 million-kronor ($999,000) prize. They were named winners of the prize in October for their work in immunotherapy -- activating the body's natural defense system to fight tumors. "Soon we'll get close with some cancers," Allison said, citing progress against some forms including melanoma. But, he said, "the world will never be cancer-free."