(ANSA) – All forms of tumors can be defeated, 30 years after, with immunotherapy, i.e. using the defense of the immune system as a weapon against the diseased cells. It was confirmed in Stockholm by the Nobel Prize winner 2018, Tasuku Honjo, of the Tokyo University, who shared the award with American James A. Allison from the Anderson Center, cancer (Texas).
"I'm sure before 2050 all forms of cancer can be defeated by immunotherapy"Said Hongjo when he met the press with Alison at the Carolinian Institute." If we can not remove all the tumors, we can even block them, preventing their prolonged growth, "said Honjo.
The meeting between Alison and Hondo is the second between the two pioneers of immunotherapy. The first was held in 1982 in Texas when Hongjo offered his colleague to cooperate in cancer research. "We have not seen each other since then, but there has never been competition between us: our investigations have evolved in a complementary way," said the scientist.
Each one and following different paths, the two researchers laid the foundations to attack the tumors with a new weapon, the fourth available after surgery, radiotherapy and chemotherapy.
The two stared at the immune cells, looking for the proteins used by the tumors to cheat them and continue to calm down. In the early 1990s, Alison discovered the first called CTLA-4 on the surface of T-lymphocytes; in the same period and in the same cells, Honjo detected the PD1 protein. And they became the most promising new weapons against cancer.
"This is a path we found 20 years ago and now a large number of people around the world are working in the field of immunotherapy," he said. "This is a very promising field, but even for some time immunotherapy should be combined with radiotherapy and chemotherapy," he added, "the immune system is the key to fighting cancer."