James P. Allison
The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018
Born: 7 August 1948, Alice, TX, USA
Affiliation at the time of the award: University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, TX, USA, Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy, San Francisco, CA, USA
Prize motivation: "for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation."
Prize share: 1/2
James Allison was born in Alice, Texas in the United States. He studied at the University of Texas in Austin, and he received his PhD there in 1973. He worked at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation in La Jolla, California; University of Texas System Cancer Center, Smithville, Texas; University of California, Berkeley; Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York; Weill Cornell Medicine, New York; and Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Chevy Chase, Maryland. Since 2012 he has been a professor at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.
Cancer kills millions of people every year and is one of humanity’s greatest health challenges. By stimulating the inherent ability of our immune system to attack tumor cells James Allison and Tasuku Honjo have established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy. In 1994–1995, Allison studied a known protein that functions as a brake on the immune system. He realized the potential of releasing the brake and thereby unleashing our immune cells to attack tumors. He then developed this concept into a new approach for treating patients.