Stockholm: Immunologists James Allison of USA and Tasuku Honjo of Japan won the 2018 Nobel Prize for Physiology or MedicineThe duo received the prestigious prize “for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation.” Allison is a professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, while Honjo is a professor at Kyoto University since 1984.

American James Allison and Japanese Tasuku Honjo discovered new strategies to harness the immune system’s ability to fight cancer. The two laureates were awarded a prize of 9 million Swedish crowns ($1 million) at the Nobel Assembly at Sweden’s Karolinska Institute. According to the cancer research made by the duo, the immune checkpoint inhibitor therapy targets proteins made by certain immune system cells and cancer cells. The proteins are responsible for preventing the body’s natural defence mechanism from killing the cancer cells. With the help of the therapy, a protein “brake” is possible which in turn allows the body’s immune system to fight the cancer cells more effectively.

Every year, the Nobel Prize for Medicine is awarded first. Similarly this year, the Award for Medicine was announced on Monday, followed by the Nobel Prize for Physics and Chemistry which will be declared on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. This year the literature prize will not be awarded as the nominee was involved in a sexual misconduct scandal. With the announcement of the Nobel Prize for Economics on October 8, the 2018 Nobel season would come to a closure.

(With Agency inputs)