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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."


Skin cancer therapy wins Nobel prize

BBC News

Two scientists who discovered how to fight cancer using the body's immune system have won the 2018 Nobel Prize for physiology or medicine. The work by James P Allison, from the US, and Tasuku Honjo, from Japan, has led to treatments for advanced, deadly skin cancer. Immune checkpoint therapy has revolutionised cancer treatment, said the prize-giving Swedish Academy. Experts say it has proved to be "strikingly effective". Allison, a professor at the University of Texas, and Honjo, a professor at Kyoto University, will share the Nobel prize sum of nine million Swedish kronor - about $1.01 million or 870,000 euros.


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.


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.


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.