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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.


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 laureate Tasuku Honjo calls for a better environment in Japan for life science research

The Japan Times

Nobel laureate and immunologist Tasuku Honjo on Tuesday called for a better environment in Japan for conducting research in the life sciences, saying more efforts are needed by both the private and public sectors in enabling researchers to come up with medical cures for illnesses such as cancer. The Kyoto University professor, who was awarded this year's Nobel Prize in medicine for his studies on cancer therapy that focus on controlling the immune system, told a meeting of ruling lawmakers at the Liberal Democratic Party headquarters in Tokyo about difficulties in the process that led to the development of the immunotherapeutic drug Opdivo. He spoke of his partnership with a Japanese pharmaceutical firm that didn't always work, his cooperation with a U.S. company that led to clinical trials for the drug and his recollection that the favorable results of the tests that came out in 2012 were not covered by the Japanese media. "Researchers around the world were surprised by the results because at the time people didn't think immunotherapy was effective in treating cancer," Honjo said. "Most of the patients who took part in the clinical trials were terminal cancer patients and the drug was effective for 20 to 30 percent of those patients. In addition, the effect continued even after administering of the medicine was stopped after half a year," he said.


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.