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01 October 2018, 03:40 | Silvia Roy
The Nobel Prize laureates in medicine or physiology are shown on a screen at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm Sweden
An American and a Japanese scientist have won the 2018 Nobel prize in physiology or medicine for discovery of a revolutionary approach to cancer treatment.
The researchers will share a prize of 9 million Swedish kronor (just over $1 million).
Their breakthroughs take advantage of the immune system's ability to attack cancer cells by releasing the brakes on immune cells. "I didn't set out to study cancer, but to understand the biology of T cells, these incredible cells that travel our bodies and work to protect us", he said. He performed his prize-winning studies at the University of California Berkeley and at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in NY.
The academy said that this year's Nobel Prize constitutes a landmark in the fight against cancer. Therapies based on his discovery proved to be strikingly effective in the fight against cancer. Removing these proteins from the equation allows immune cells called T-cells to attack the cancer. He realised the potential of releasing the brake and unleashing our immune cells to attack tumours.
Meanwhile, Honjo, who is now a professor at Kyoto University in Japan, discovered a similar immune system-braking protein.
"Until the discoveries made by the 2018 Medicine Laureates, progress into clinical development was modest". Allison developed this idea into a new type of cancer treatment.
Other cancer treatments have previously been awarded Nobel prizes, including methods for hormone treatment for prostate cancer in 1966, chemotherapy in 1988 and bone marrow transplantation for leukaemia in 1990.
The winners of this year's physics prize will be announced on Tuesday, followed by the chemistry prize on Wednesday. The prizes for achievements in science, literature and peace were created in accordance with the will of dynamite inventor and businessman Alfred Nobel and have been awarded since 1901.
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