2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Awarded

2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine Awarded

"After the initial studies showing the effects of CTLA-4 and PD-1 blockade, the clinical development has been dramatic. We now know that the treatment, often referred to as “immune checkpoint therapy”, has fundamentally changed the outcome for certain groups of patients with advanced cancer."
(NobelPrize.org, 2018)

The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for 2018 was recently awarded to James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for "their disocvery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation" (NobelPrize.org, 2018). The award is shared jointly by two researchers for their work in immunotherapy. In the early 1990s, James P. Allison, PhD studied CTLA-4, a protein that serves as a brake on the immune system, and tried to remove the braking function to accelerate T-Cell activity (NobelPrize.org). In 1992 Tasuku Honjo, MD, PhD discovered PD-1, a protein found on immune cells and that also acts as a brake. These different strategies were used to aid in efforts to treat cancer. Additional research has been conducted that combines the two strategies on more challenging cancers like melanoma.

The efforts of these two Nobel Laureates provide specific opportunities for similar clinical research studies, but also would be suitable for research in administrative or practitioner settings. There is much research to be done on cancer, and discoveries such as these are helping to bolster patient treatment options. CHNR faculty, students, alumni, and affiliates may be interested in studying the implications of using these or other immunotherapies in the treatment of cancer, or the affects of these improved treatment strategies on the healthcare system.


NobelPrize.org, 2018. Prize announcement. Nobel Media AB 2018. Retrieved from https://www.nobelprize.org/prizes/medicine/2018/summary/

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Jared D. Padgett



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