By: Christie Chen
Taipei, Oct. 6 (CNA) The Tang Prize Foundation signed an agreement Monday with
prominent Japanese scientist Tasuku Honjo on the disbursement of a NT$5 million fund for his cancer immunotherapy research, which was part of his award for winning the first Tang Prize in biopharmaceutical science last year.
The agreement was signed at Kyoto University in Japan between Honjo and Chang Herng-yuh (張恒裕), director of the foundation’s Planning and Development Department.
Under the agreement, Honjo will receive NT$5 million for his research project, titled “Improvement of PD-1 Antibody Cancer Immunotherapy.” In 2014, Honjo and James P. Allison of the United States won the first Tang Prize in biopharmaceutical science, which earned them a shared cash prize of NT$40 million (US$1.23 million) and a research grant of NT$10 million to be used over five years.
A professor at Kyoto University, Honjo discovered PD-1 (programmed cell death protein-1) in 1992, and later established it as an inhibitor of the T-cell, a type of lymphocyte that plays a central role in cell-mediated immunity. In 2014, anti-PD-1 antibodies nivolumab and/or pembrolizumab were approved in Japan and the United States to treat patients with advanced melanoma or melanoma that could not be removed by surgery. [FULL STORY]