Two Nobel Prizes with utmost significance for Cantargia’s research
Nobel Prize in Medicine – ”unleash the immune system”
This year’s Nobel laureates in Physiology or Medicine, James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo, opened the door to the modern cancer treatments – immune therapies – that today benefit millions of people with cancer. During the 1990s, Allison and Honjo studied two different proteins that act as brakes on immune cells. They realized that these brakes could be used by tumors to resist the immune system and make themselves untouchable. By blocking these brakes with antibodies, they could show that the immune system became activated and started to reject the cancer. These antibodies have subsequently been developed into therapies that have revolutionized cancer care. With these types of drugs, results have been achieved that previously was not thought possible, and even if there is still much to do we have only seen the beginning of this development.
To manipulate the immune system to treat cancer patients is probably the hottest research area today and this is where Cantargia also is contributing. We are therefore very happy that the Nobel prize has been awarded two scientists that have demonstrated the value of using the body’s own immune system to fight cancer. We continue in our strive to make the future cancer therapies even better.
Nobel Prize in Chemistry - “evolution in a test tube”
The Nobel laureates in Chemistry, Gregory Winter, George Smith and Frances Arnold, have laid the foundations to and developed techniques that in one way or the other are used by the majority of biopharma companies that develop biological drugs. With their methods it is today possible to mimic evolution in the laboratory and generate a multitude of variants of an original protein, for example an antibody, with new properties. These can subsequently be tested and modified until a molecule with the desired properties have been generated, so called “directed evolution”. In nature, variants are generated (mutations) and a selection occurs (natural selection) over millions of years. With the techniques developed by the Nobel laureates, this can instead be performed rapidly and powerfully in the laboratory. Their contribution is today a pillar for the development of biopharmaceuticals.
These technologies have been a part of the Cantargia toolbox and will also in the future continue to be important to further develop and broaden our project portfolio.