HOUSTON For basic science research that opened a completely new approach for treating cancer, The Economist has named James Allison, Ph.D., professor and chair of Immunology at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, as its 2013 Innovations Award winner in Bioscience.
Allison identified an immune checkpoint molecule that turns off T cells white blood cells that are the attack dogs of the immune system before they can mount a successful response to tumors that they are primed to destroy.
An antibody that blocks that immune checkpoint molecule, unleashing a T cell attack, became the first drug to ever extend survival for patients with late-stage melanoma. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved ipilumumab (Yervoy) for treatment of metastatic melanoma in 2011.
"The approval of ipilimumab in 2011 represents the culmination of years of research by Dr Allison into tumor immunotherapy," said Tom Standage, Digital Editor at The Economist and chairman of the panel of 30 judges. "We are delighted to recognize his pioneering achievement in the fight against cancer."
The Economist is a 170-year-old weekly news publication based in London with a circulation of 4.5 million worldwide. Its Innovation Awards recognize significant contributions in eight fields: Bioscience, Computing and Telecommunications, Consumer Products, Energy and Environment, Process and Services, Social and Economic, No Boundaries and Corporate.
"I'm honored to receive this award, which recognizes the increasing importance of immune therapy in the treatment of cancer due to the efforts of many scientists, clinicians and patients willing to participate in clinical trials," Allison said.
The adaptive immune system routinely identifies, destroys and remembers infections and abnormal cells. Yet cancer cells evade or suppress immune attack, largely frustrating efforts to develop vaccines and other immune therapies against tumors.'/>"/>
|Contact: Scott Merville|
University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center