James P. Allison
Award Name : Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences
Year of Award : 2014
Award for : Medical
Location : Houston, Texas, United States
James P. Allison is an immunologist who currently holds the position of Professor and Chair of Immunology and Executive Director of Immunotherapy Platform at the M. D. Anderson Cancer Center. He is also the director of the Cancer Research Institute (CRI) Scientific Advisory Council. Dr. Allison has a longstanding interest in mechanisms of T-cell development and activation, the development of novel strategies for tumor immunotherapy and is recognized as the first person to isolate the T-cell antigen receptor complex protein. His research in the 1990s at the University of California, Berkeley,led to the clinical development of ipilimumab (Yervoy), which was approved in 2011 by the FDA for the treatment of metastatic melanoma.
Dr. Allison was the first to show that antibody blockade of a T-cell inhibitory molecule (known as CTLA-4) could lead to enhanced anti-tumor immune responses and tumor rejection. This paradigm-shifting concept of blocking T-cell inhibitory pathways as a way of unleashing anti-tumor immune responses and eliciting clinical benefit laid the foundation for the development of other drugs that target T-cell inhibitory pathways, which have been labeled as "immune checkpoint therapies".He receive the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in 2014 for his discovery of T cell checkpoint blockade as effective cancer therapy.