Cancer: by 2050 it will be defeated by immunotherapy according to Dr. Honjo
Cancer: by 2050 it will be defeated by immunotherapy according to Nobel Laureate Honjo
According to Tasuku Honjo, Nobel Laureate in Medicine 2018, in 30 years if cancer cannot be permanently defeated, it can be stopped.
Use the immune system’s own defenses as weapons. This is the basic principle of immunotherapy, the new frontier in the fight against cancer. Thanks to this new approach by 2050 mankind could completely eradicate any form of cancer, or at least permanently halt its advance. Co-winner of the 2018 Nobel Prize in Medicine, Japan’s Tasuku Honjo of the University of Tokyo, is convinced of this.
The Japanese scientist shares the prestigious award with U.S. colleague James P. Allison of the Anderson Cancer Center
Tasuku Honjo’s words.
The two Nobel Prize-winning scientists met with reporters during the customary press conference after the announcement of the awarding of the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their studies on anti-cancer therapy (the prize will be physically presented to them by the King of Sweden on Dec. 10) at the Karoliska Institute.
Honjo said he is fully convinced that within the next 30 years humanity can achieve the ambitious goal represented by the complete defeat of any type of cancer form through the use of immunotherapy.
Indeed, both Honjo and Allison speak knowledgeably. Not so much and not only because they have been awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine, but because they are two pioneers of immunotherapy who first met in 1982 in Texas.
And although no coordinated collaboration emerged from this meeting, according to insiders there would be no competition between the two. What’s more, their research would have progressed in a very complementary way. And, in fact, starting from different assumptions, the two scientists laid the groundwork for giving humanity yet another powerful weapon in the fight against cancer.
Precisely, immunotherapy, which, together with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, enriches the medical-scientific arsenal at our disposal.
The motivation for awarding the Nobel Prize
Basically, the two scientists were the first to understand that there are molecular mechanisms at the level of our immune system that would prevent it from nipping the growth of various forms of cancer in the bud.
Consequently, if these blockages are removed, an attempt can be made to stop the advance of the disease. Basically, these blockages are governed by two types of proteins. Both have been traced to the surface of T lymphocytes. The first, discovered by Allison, has been named CTLA-4. The second, discovered by Honjo, was named PD1. In technical jargon, these molecular hooks for tumors are called, somewhat quaintly, checkpoints.
But this is now the new frontier in cancer therapy.