The Nobel Prize in medicine was awarded Monday to two researchers from the United States and Japan for advances in discovering how the body’s immune system can fight off the scourge of cancer.
The $1 million prize will be shared by James Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, and Tasuku Honjo, M.D., Ph.D., a professor at Kyoto University.
Allison is the first MD Anderson scientist to receive the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, according to MD Anderson.
Allison studied a known protein and developed the concept into a new treatment approach, whereas Honjo discovered a new protein that also operated as a brake on immune cells.
“I’m honored and humbled to receive this prestigious recognition,” Allison said in a statement. “A driving motivation for scientists is simply to push the frontiers of knowledge. 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.”