The Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine 2018

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I am excited to learn about the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine this year has just been awarded to Prof Allison and Prof Honjo for their profound discovery of cancer immunotherapy.

Many students in my classes were very interested in this topic; in PGT Biochemistry and Diseases, for instance, I was surprised that many of the Secondary School Students were interested in cancer immunotherapy, which is often considered as an advanced topic even amongst the medical professionals. We had some after class discussion of the mechanisms of the therapy, which included 1) the manipulation of PD-1 signaling pathways and 2) the manipulation of immune cells in the test tube.

In CUSA3003 Biological Science Student Knowledge Enhancement Course this summer, for example, we had a special talk related to the role of PD-1 molecule on cancer immunotherapy. The talk was delivered by Andrew, who did his literature research final year project related to the effect of PD-1 and PD-1L interaction on cancer cell survival; and it was my pleasure to be his advisor.

I often tell my students in class that immunology is a highly intellectual subject; yet, it is also the necessary common sense for various kinds of research (one will know if s/he has ever been in my immunology class, such as BCHE4760 Immunology and Haematology Laboratory). I was comfortable to tell my students that ‘Cancer Immunotherapy’ would be awarded with the Nobel Prize. And this day has arrived!

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