Cheated cancer. For which he was given Nobel prize in medicine

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T-lymphocytes attacking a cancer cell

The Nobel prize was given for research in the field of a new type of cancer treatment is immunotherapy, which works “by suppressing negative immune regulation”.

The Nobel prize in physiology or medicine in 2018 steel James Allison and Honjo Tasuku for the “entirely new principle” therapy of cancer.

Scientists were able to “trick” the cancer cells and not allow them to suppress the body’s immune response. It has made a real revolution in therapy and formed the basis of a whole new class of drugs. Корреспондент.net tells details.

 

Epoch-making discovery

The Nobel prize in medicine in 2018 received a 70-year-old American James Ellison, and 76-year-old Japanese, Tasuku Honjo.

Their discoveries in immunology have helped to create new effective ways of treating cancer. Each of the scientists will receive 500 thousand dollars.

Allison and Honjo have established “an entirely new principle of cancer treatment,” reads the press release of the Nobel Committee.

“Discovery of these two winners were the turning point in our fight against cancer”, – stated in the message.

Scientists have developed a fundamentally new approach to cancer therapy that is different from the pre-existing radiation and chemotherapy, which is known as “inhibition of checkpoints (immune checkpoint – ed.)” immune cells. In the English language literature about this therapy say that it “removes immunity with brakes.”

Immune checkpoints is a natural mechanism that inhibits the immune system, “reassuring” T-lymphocytes responsible for recognizing and destroying the alien and mutated cells.

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T-lymphocytes that attack cancer cells / Science photo library

If this mechanism is disturbed, the body begins to destroy itself by switching to the destruction of healthy tissue. So, for example, occurs in autoimmune diseases.

One of the main problems of Oncology is the fact that the human immune system often does not “see” a malignant tumor, because cancer cells, on the one hand, different from our own, on the other hand, are them. The result does not arise the required protective reaction of an organism on cancer cells.

Studies of Nobel laureates on how to eliminate the suppression of activity of immune system cells from cancer cells.

Japanese immunologist at the University of Kyoto discovered the receptor PD-1 (checkpoint immunity) on the surface of lymphocytes, the activation of which leads to the suppression of their activity.

His American counterpart Andersonsc cancer center of the University of Texas tried to turn off the natural braking mechanism in patients with cancer mice and achieved amazing results. Tumor cells could no longer hide from the immune system and the body fought cancer much more effectively.

 

New drug against cancer

The study of these two immunologists has led to the emergence of a new class of cancer drugs based on antibodies, binds to a protein on the surface of lymphocytes or cancer cells.

The first such drug, ipilimumab – an antibody that blocks CTLA-4 (reference point of immunity), was approved in 2011 to treat melanoma. Antibody against PD-1, Nivolumab, was approved in 2014 against melanoma, lung cancer, kidney and some other types of cancer.

Drugs developed on the basis proposed by Allison and Honjo techniques, already successfully applied in the treatment of cancer patients. But more drugs are undergoing clinical trials and will be available in the coming years.

“Ten years ago, metastatic melanoma was virtually untreatable. Now, thanks to the work of Allison and Honjo, patients there is real hope. More than one third of patients show long-term improvements as a result of immunotherapy, and some even can be completely cured,” says Professor Charlie Swanton, the Director of the British organization for the fight against cancer Cancer Research UK.

In 2017 the Nobel prize in medicine and physiology were three American scientists Jeffrey Hall, Michael Rosbash, Michael young, who was awarded the prize for the discovery of molecular mechanisms underlying the working of the biological clock.

 

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