STOCKHOLM (AP) — One U.S. cancer doctor says the discoveries by James Allison of the University of Texas and Tasuku Honjo of Japan’s Kyoto University of how to stimulate the immune system’s ability to attack tumors “absolutely paved the way for a new approach to cancer treatment.”
The two researchers won the Nobel Prize in Medicine on Monday.
Dr. Jedd Wolchok, chief of the melanoma and immunotherapeutics service at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, told the Associated Press that “an untold number of lives … have been saved by the science that they pioneered.”
He says the idea of blocking the brakes on immune system cells has led to drugs for the skin cancer melanoma, and cancers of the lung, head and neck, bladder, kidney, and liver.
Wolchok added that just last week such a drug was approved to treat another kind of skin cancer called squamous cell cancer.