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Serendipities of Acquired Immunity—An Intimate evening with Tasuku Honjo

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Carnegie Institution for Science - Department of Embryology

3520 San Martin Drive

Baltimore, MD 21218

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Join us for an intimate evening with 2018 Nobel Laureate Dr. Tasuku Honjo, eminent immunologist and pioneer in the fight against cancer.


Science in the Neighborhood

SERENDIPITIES OF ACQUIRED IMMUNITY

Dr. Tasuku Honjo shared the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine for a groundbreaking discovery that contributed to breakthroughs in cancer immunotherapy.

Cancer kills millions of people every year and is one of humanity’s greatest health challenges. By stimulating the inherent ability of our immune system to attack tumor cells, Dr. Honjo helped establish an entirely new principle for cancer therapy that is often compared to the revolutionary discovery of penicillin for the treatment of infectious diseases. In 1992, he discovered a protein on immune cells called PD-1 and revealed that it operates as a brake, preventing the immune system from perceiving its own body as a threat—but it also holds the body back from fighting cancer. The FDA approved the first PD-1 checkpoint inhibitor, pembrolizumab, to treat melanoma in 2014. Since then, the agency has approved at least four more PD-1 inhibitors for the treatment of nine types of cancer.

On September 16, Dr. Honjo will talk about the path that led him to find PD-1. He will also discuss its application to cancer immunotherapy, which relies on the power of our defense against infectious diseases—acquired immunity, and how this mechanism raises the possibility of curing cancer in the near future!

#Immunotherapy




Dr. Tasuku Honjo graduated from the Kyoto University Faculty of Medicine with a medical degree in 1966. After also obtaining a Ph.D. in biochemistry from Kyoto University, he spent two years as a postdoctoral fellow at Carnegie’s Department of Embryology, where his interactions with the department director Dr. Donald Brown led him to study molecular immunology at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

In 1984, Honjo joined Kyoto University as a professor. There, in the 1990s, he and colleagues discovered a protein called programmed cell death protein 1 (PD-1) on the surface of T cells. In later experiments, Dr. Honjo and his colleagues found that PD-1 deficiency played a critical role in the development of lupus-like autoimmune diseases. In the early 2000s, Honjo showed that PD-1 inhibition in animal models of cancer restored the ability of T cells to target and kill cancer cells. Honjo’s findings opened the door for the development of anti-PD-1 cancer immunotherapies.

Today, he is Deputy Director-General and Distinguished Professor at the Kyoto University Institute for Advanced Study, a professor in the Department of Immunology and Genomic Medicine at the Kyoto University Graduate School of Medicine, and Chairman of the Board of Directors at the Foundation for Biomedical Research and Innovation at Kobe.




- The event is free, but registration is required.

- The Carnegie Institution for Science, Department of Embryology will open its doors at 6:30 p.m. The event will start at 7:00 p.m.

- An overflow room, with screens, will be available when our auditorium reaches maximum capacity. Seating in the auditorium is on a first-come, first-served basis.

- This lecture will be streamed live on our YouTube page, as well as recorded for on-demand viewing after the lecture.

- Light refreshments will be served.

- Free Parking

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Carnegie Institution for Science - Department of Embryology

3520 San Martin Drive

Baltimore, MD 21218

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