James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo received the Nobel Prize for their discovery of a new cancer treatment in which the immune system attacks cancer cells. Two researchers at Lund University comment on this year’s prize in Medicine or Physiology.
“I am very pleased, Allison’s and Honjo’s discoveries are revolutionary. It was long believed that the immune system could not attack tumour cells effectively, but both these researchers have shown that through affecting the brakes in the immune system it has a very important role in protecting us from cancer. The discovery also opens the way for new therapies that affect the immune system. As a tumour immunologist, this is terrific”, says Karin Leandersson, professor of Tumour Immunology at Lund University.
“I think it is gratifying that the Nobel Prize has been awarded for a discovery from basic research that has provided a fundamental understanding about how our immune system is regulated and then led to the development of new and effective cancer drugs. It shows the value of supporting curiosity-driven research that in the long term can lead to major benefits for society”, says Kristian Pietras, professor of Molecular Medicine specialising in cancer.