Conquest - Spring 2014
MD Anderson immunotherapy pioneer’s list of awards keeps growing
by Scott Merville
A Canadian institution that annually recognizes seminal medical discoveries selected James Allison, Ph.D., chair of Immunology, for one of its 2014 Canada Gairdner International Awards.
The honor, announced in March by the Gairdner Foundation, lauds cancer immunotherapy leader Allison’s research in T cell biology that led to his discovery of a unique treatment that frees the immune system to attack cancer.
“Allison’s concept has opened a new field of cancer therapy, immune checkpoint blockade, and many cancer patients are alive today because of his vision,” the foundation noted in its announcement.
Allison discovered that a molecule on T cells turns off an immune attack on cancer before those white blood cells, primed to kill the tumor, can complete their work. He created an antibody to shut down this switch and prolong immune response, which became ipilimumab, known as Yervoy®, the first drug to increase survival of people with late-stage melanoma.
Allison and seven other honorees will receive their awards and 100,000 Canadian dollars to support their research. The awards were created in 1959 to recognize and reward the achievements of medical researchers whose work significantly improves the quality of human life.
Last year, Allison received a Breakthrough Prize for Biosciences from the Breakthrough Foundation and The Economist’s 2013 Innovations Award for Bioscience. The journal Science named cancer immunotherapy its 2013 Breakthrough of the Year. In February, he was named winner of the 2014 Szent-Györgyi Prize for Progress in Cancer Research from the National Foundation for Cancer Research.
In This Issue
- Saying thanks to a champion of the struggle
- The pain won’t stop, but it won’t stop her
- The drug that may make chemo a thing of the past
- Understanding over-imaging
- Convenience comes standard at Rotary House
- Casting a wide network
- A tale of two proteins
- Invasive bladder and breast cancers bear a molecular resemblance
- Sensor-based technology benefits both patients and clinicians
- The write stuff improves outcomes
- Drugs team up to hit tumors, boost immune system attacks
- Blood test may one day reveal cancer
- MD Anderson immunotherapy pioneer’s List of awards keeps growing
- Screening tool targets body-image concerns
- MD Anderson establishes immunotherapy partnerships
- Leukemia chair picks up lifetime achievement honor