James P. Allison and Robert D. Schreiber
2017 Balzan Prize for Immunological Approaches in Cancer Therapy
Professors Schreiber and Allison have played transformative roles in the field of tumor immunology. Schreiber demonstrated that the immune system is crucially involved in fighting and shaping cancer and introduced the concept of cancer immunoediting, especially as it pertains to immune escape. Allison unraveled the molecular bases of this escape and succeeded to block it by monoclonal antibody therapy, increasing for the first time the survival of patients with metastatic melanoma. Both have collaborated with other scientists recently in the identification of tumor specific neoantigens, an approach that might lead to the development of effective personalized cancer-specific vaccines.
Excerpt from The Balzan Prizewinners’ Research Projects: An Overview 2020