American James Allison of the University of Texas is the other prize recipient. The two researchers discovered that inhibiting certain proteins can suppress the progress of cancer. Honjo’s research has been guided by the six Cs: curiosity, courage, challenge, confidence, concentration and continuation.
Kyoto (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Tasuku Honjo, from Japan, and James Allison, from the United States, won the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for their cancer research.
Honjo, 76, works at the University of Kyoto, which is where he received the news about the award.
Reacting to the decision of the Nobel assembly at the Karolinska Institutet in Stockholm, which picks the recipients, he said that curiosity has always guided his research.
The Japanese researcher shares the prize with a James Allison, a US immunologist at the MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas.
The two scientists were cited for "their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition of negative immune regulation." In other words, the two researchers were the first to realise the potential of immunotherapy.
Specifically, they discovered proteins responsible for suppressing immune responses to cancer. Once those proteins are inhibited, the immune system can be activated to fight cancer cells.
"I think it is important to continue until one can confirm the results with one's own eyes," said Honjo, who celebrated the award with his research team.
Honjo said that since his college days, he has been driven by the six Cs: curiosity, courage, challenge, confidence, concentration and continuation.
As an encouragement to students and younger researchers, he said, "What is important is to always hold a feeling of wanting to know something and to hold a sense of wonder.”
To maintain this, “Do not trust what is written in textbooks. You should have a feeling of wanting to find out what is really going on. Do not give up."