Statement by Research!America President and CEO Mary Woolley on Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine
Research!America salutes the 2018 Nobel prize winners in Physiology or Medicine for their groundbreaking achievement in immunotherapy, a transformative advance in the treatment of cancer and one that holds enormous promise to combat a broad spectrum of health threats. Dr. James Allison of the University of Texas, M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, whose research has received taxpayer-funded National Institutes of Health support since 1979, shares the award with Dr. Tasuku Honjo of Kyoto University Institute for utilizing brakes in the immune system, known as ‘checkpoints,’ to prevent immune cells from attacking normal tissue. This remarkable discovery has evolved into clinical treatments for lung cancer, renal cancer, lymphoma and melanoma. Their innovative approach underscores the value of sustained investments in research to empower scientists to reach new milestones in understanding the human condition in ways that were previously unimaginable. Basic scientific research that advances the frontiers of knowledge is necessary and should be supported by the federal government -- even if it brings no immediate benefits -- according to a majority of Americans (89%) in a survey commissioned by Research!America. Dr. Allison has received numerous awards for his research, among them the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award and the Dr. Paul Janssen Award. We extend our congratulations to Drs. Allison and Honjo for charting new pathways in mobilizing the immune system to fight cancer and other serious health threats.