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Nobel winner Tasuku Honjo sees bigger role for immunotherapy in battling cancer

The Japan Times

STOCKHOLM – Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo, who jointly won this year's Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for his research on the immune system that contributed to cancer treatments, said Thursday that he believes most cancers will become treatable with immunotherapy by 2050. The 76-year-old professor and deputy director-general at the Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study spoke at a news conference at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, joined by American scientist James Allison, who shared the prize. The discovery by Honjo and Allison -- on methods to inhibit negative immune regulation -- established a new principle for cancer treatment that stimulates the inherent ability of the human immune system to unleash attacks on tumor cells, according to the Nobel Assembly. Honjo said it may become possible to contain the growth of most cancer cells through such treatment, even if cancer cannot be completely eliminated, as he discussed the effectiveness of combination therapy using drugs in the development of which he and Allison were involved. The Kyoto native and his team discovered PD-1, a protein on immune cells that operates as a brake on the immune system.


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.


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."


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.


Cancer immunotherapy sweeps Nobel for medicine

Science

On 1 October, James Allison of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University in Japan were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for work underpinning a new class of cancer drugs. Called immune checkpoint inhibitors, they have revolutionized the treatment of certain types of cancer. In basic research beginning in the 1990s, Allison and Honjo discovered ways to remove the immune system's "brakes" that prevent it from attacking tumor cells. Neither set out to conquer cancer; both were doing fundamental studies of the immune system. But the treatments resulting from their work are now causing previously untreatable tumors, such as metastatic melanoma, to disappear for years in some patients.