Monday, October 1, 2018

Scientists who discovered immunotherapy cancer treatment awarded Nobel Prize for Medicine

And rightly deserved to. James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo both discovered a new way to fight cancer by unleashing the body's own immune system on it.
Working in the 1990s, both scientists studied proteins that regulate the immune system and keep it in check. For Allison, this protein was CTLA-4 protein, while Honjo studied a protein called PD-1. Both CTLA-4 and PD-1 regulate the immune system and keep it from being too aggressive. Therefore, it’s possible to use an antibody to target these proteins and shut them down. When these proteins are shut down, and the brakes “released,” our body’s immune system can go on the attack against cancerous tumors, a form of treatment today called immunotherapy. (Both proteins brake the immune system, just in different ways.)
Even better, their two methods for "releasing" the immune system could be even more effect together. These two men are going to be responsible for potentially millions of people surviving their cancer, making the disease less of a death sentence than it currently is now. The power of science, folks.

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