Most Read Articles
4 days ago
Children with high dental anxiety are more likely to develop dental diseases, which, in turn, negatively affect the family’s quality of life, a recent study has found.
2 days ago
Exposure to corticosteroids in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) appears to contribute to increased risks of cataract, diabetes and bone fractures, a study has found. Notably, the fracture risk is elevated at low doses, while the risk of adverse events overall is dose-dependent and is reversible.
14 Nov 2019
In patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and stable coronary artery disease (CAD), rivaroxaban monotherapy is noninferior to combination treatment with an antiplatelet therapy in terms of cutting the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality, according to data from the AFIRE trial.
3 days ago
Supplementation with oral nano vitamin D appears to moderate disease activity and severity grade of patients with active ulcerative colitis (UC), suggests a study, adding that this association is more evident in those achieving a target vitamin D level of 40 ng/mL.

Cancer immunotherapy researchers awarded 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine

Christina Lau
04 Oct 2018
2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine awarded to Dr James Allison (left) and Dr Tasuku Honjo (right)

The 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine is awarded to two researchers who discovered thatthe cytotoxic T-lymphocyte–associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4) and programmed cell death-1 (PD-1) proteins limit the ability of T cells to attack cancer cells. Their discovery led to the development of immune checkpoint inhibitors that have revolutionized cancer treatment.

Dr James Allison of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, US, discovered the CTLA-4 protein. He then developed an antibody against CTLA-4 and performed the first experiment on its antitumour activity in mice with cancer in 1994. Despite lukewarm interest from the pharmaceutical industry initially, Allison persisted in his efforts to develop the strategy into a therapy for humans. Promising results were soon reported by several groups, with a landmark clinical trial in 2010 showing significant efficacy in patients with advanced melanoma.

Dr Tasuku Honjo of the Kyoto University, Japan, discovered the PD-1 protein in 1992. With animal studies performed by his team and other groups showing promise, the strategy of PD-1 blockade in cancer treatment soon proceeded to clinical development. In 2012, a key study showed that treatment with an antibody against PD-1 provided long-term remission in patients with several types of metastatic cancer.

The anti–CTLA-4 therapy ipilimumab and anti–PD-1 therapies nivolumab and pembrolilzumab were subsequently approved for use in cancer patients. In clinical trials and clinical practice, these therapies have significantly improved the outcomes of patients with advanced cancers including melanoma, non-small-cell lung cancer, renal cell carcinoma, squamous carcinoma of the head and neck, hepatocellular carcinoma, and urothelial carcinoma. Other immunotherapies, such as durvalumab, atezolizumab and avelumab, have also become available recently.

Current studies are evaluating the combination of anti–CTLA-4 and anti–PD-1 therapies and their combinations with other treatment modalities in various types of cancer.

Other cancer therapies have previously been awarded Nobel Prizes, including hormonal treatment for prostate cancer in 1966, chemotherapy in 1988, and bone marrow transplantation in 1990.
Digital Edition
Asia's trusted medical magazine for healthcare professionals. Get your MIMS Doctor - Malaysia digital copy today!
Sign In To Download
Editor's Recommendations
Most Read Articles
4 days ago
Children with high dental anxiety are more likely to develop dental diseases, which, in turn, negatively affect the family’s quality of life, a recent study has found.
2 days ago
Exposure to corticosteroids in patients with autoimmune hepatitis (AIH) appears to contribute to increased risks of cataract, diabetes and bone fractures, a study has found. Notably, the fracture risk is elevated at low doses, while the risk of adverse events overall is dose-dependent and is reversible.
14 Nov 2019
In patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and stable coronary artery disease (CAD), rivaroxaban monotherapy is noninferior to combination treatment with an antiplatelet therapy in terms of cutting the risk of cardiovascular events and mortality, according to data from the AFIRE trial.
3 days ago
Supplementation with oral nano vitamin D appears to moderate disease activity and severity grade of patients with active ulcerative colitis (UC), suggests a study, adding that this association is more evident in those achieving a target vitamin D level of 40 ng/mL.