Researchers recently reported that 21 percent of patients with advanced melanoma survived to three years after taking the drug developed by Allison, with some living 10 years or longer, unheard of results for a previously untreatable terminal cancer.
"The Szent-Gyrgyi Prize is a wonderful honor and I'm gratified to receive this recognition by the NFCR, a foundation that does so much to advance cancer research," Allison said. "Ongoing recognition of checkpoint blockade immunotherapy for cancer reflects the early success and great potential of treating the immune system, rather than the tumor, to destroy cancer."
Allison will be honored at an award ceremony held April 30, 2014 at The National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Since 1973, NFCR has provided nearly $310 million in direct support of discovery-oriented cancer research focused on understanding how and why cells become cancerous, and on public education relating to cancer prevention, detection, and treatment.
Allison's research solved a crucial part of a puzzle that thwarted immunotherapy development for decades. Tumors spark an immune response, but cancer cells somehow evaded or thwarted a lethal attack by T cells white blood cells that enforce an immune response to invading infections and the body's own abnormal cells.
After launching his career and T cell research at MD Anderson, Allison moved to the University of California, Berkeley, where he identified an immune checkpoint molecule called CTLA-4 on T cells that turns them off before they can mount a successful attack on tumors that they are primed to destroy.
Moon Shots platform advances clinical and translational research
Allison developed an antibody that blocks the CTLA-4 1mmune checkpoint, unleashing a T cell attack. Ipilimumab (Yervoy) became the first drug to extend survival for patients with late-stage melanoma. It was approved by
|Contact: Scott Merville|
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center