Allison, James Patrick

Allison, James Patrick, 1948–, American immunologist, b. Alice, Tex., Ph.D. Univ. of Texas, Austin, 1973. Allison was a researcher at the Univ. of Texas System Cancer Center in Houston from 1977 to 1984, a member of the faculty at the Univ. of California, Berkeley, from 1985 to 2004, and a researcher at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York from 2004 to 2012 (when he also was a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator); he then returned to what had become the University of Texas M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. He shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Tasuka Honjo for their discoveries of cancer treatments that act by removing brakes on the immune system's ability to respond to cancer cells. Allison's research has focused on the response mechanisms of immune system cells known as T cells. He used antibodies to interfere with CTLA-4, a protein on the T cells' membrane that acts as an off-switch, and the cells then rapidly multiplied, increasing the odds that one of the resulting cells would recognize and attack a cancer tumor. His work has led to an effective alternative to surgery, radiation, and chemotherapy for melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer.

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