Prof. Tasuku Honjo, the 2018 Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine, arrived in Hamburg Thursday (July 4, 2019) by invitation of the Board of the Heinrich Pette Institute together with the President of the Leibniz Association Matthias Kleiner and the Leibniz Center Infection (LCI). Earlier, the Japanese immunologist visited City Hall, where he signed the Golden Book after being greeted by Peter Tschentscher, Mayor of Hamburg. Honjo also gave a keynote speech entitled “Serendipities of Acquired Immunity” at the University Hospital Hamburg-Eppendorf.
New therapies for fighting cancer
Honjo is based at Kyoto University where he is working on the molecular biological causes of antibody diversity. Together with James P. Allison, he was awarded the “Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine” in 2018 for the discovery of cancer therapy by inhibiting negative immune regulation. Both scientists had discovered that certain proteins act as a brake on the immune system, preventing it from fighting tumour cells. If this brake is released, the immune cells attack the cancer cells. Based on this concept, new therapies have been developed and are now being used for various types of cancer.
Meeting with young scientists
Later Thursday, Honjo met selected junior researchers at the Heinrich Pette Institute Leibniz Institute for Experimental Virology. Plans will be laid for closer scientific co-operation with the Japanese network partners.