Houston Matters

MD Anderson President Praises Work of Scientist Awarded with Nobel Prize in Medicine

Dr. Peter Pisters hopes Dr. James Allison’s recognition will help attract more researchers


Dr. Peter Pisters, president of MD Anderson Cancer Center, praised Monday the work of Dr. James Allison who has been awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for his work in cancer research.

Dr. Peter Pisters, president of MD Anderson Cancer Center.
Dr. Peter Pisters, president of MD Anderson Cancer Center.

Pisters told Houston Matters that Allison's work has looked closely at the T cells, which could be thought of as the soldiers of the immune system. Allison discovered there is a break on the T cells which, in the case of cancer patients, often prevents the immune system from recognizing the cancer as foreign to the human body.

“Jim’s work helps to understand how that break could be released, freeing the T cells to attack the cancer cells,” said the MD Anderson president, who underlined that Allison's research has “opened up an entire new field of cancer treatment.”

Pisters highlighted as well that Allison's research led to the development of a new drug that was approved for late stage melanoma treatment by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2011.

The MD Anderson president also noted that was attracted to work in Houston because of the caliber of research at MD Anderson, but, additionally, because of the work developed by the Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas.

Pisters hopes that Allison's recognition with the Nobel Prize in medicine will help MD Anderson to “continue to retain and to attract future scientists to our community.”

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