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Professor Honjo Gives Tang Prize Lecture at IUBMB: Cancer Immunotherapy Future Trend

Taipei, Taiwan, May 28, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Inaugural Tang Prize Biopharmaceutical Science laureate Professor Tasuku Honjo will give a Tang Prize Lecture in Seoul, Korea. The lecture, titled “Cancer Immunotherapy by PD-1 blockade”, is expected to draw international leading scientists, including attendees from Taiwan. The turnout is estimated to exceed at least one thousand. 

Honjo has long been speculated as one of the most likely winners of the Nobel Prize from Japan. He received his Ph.D. from the Faculty of Medicine, Kyoto University and served as a professor there. This year Honjo is invited by the International Union of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (IUBMB) to deliver the Tang Prize Lecture at their 24th congress in Seoul, Korea. Honjo will share innovations and future perspectives in cancer treatment. President-Elect of IUBMB, Professor Andrew H. J. Wang, who himself is also a widely recognized scholar in biochemistry and molecular biology, will be the host.

It has been more than 20 years since Honjo’s discovery of a T-cell receptor called PD-1, but not until 2014 was the first anti-PD-1 immunological drug approved by the FDA. By blocking PD-1 functions, the “brakes” of immune cells are released, facilitating T-cell activation and unleashing the immune system to strike on cancer. Several PD-1 antibodies have now been approved by FDA as clinical drugs for cancer treatment, exhibiting high potency and great promise.

Honjo explains, “the striking effects of anti-PD-1 depend on three basic principles: (a) the immune system can recognize mutated cancer antigens; (b) the diversity of the immune repertoire is much larger than variations generated by mutations in tumor cells; and (c) the immune system is tolerized in tumor patients by excessive negative regulations of the immune system.” It is most likely that anti-PD-1 will be the first choice of cancer treatment in the near future.

IUBMB has regional associations in four continents across the globe. The members come from 77 different countries. The congress is held every three years, and it has an indispensable role in biotechnology. Dr. Jenn-Chuan Chern, CEO of the Tang Prize Foundation, said the Tang Prize signed a nine-year memorandum with IUBMB in 2016, sponsoring conferences in the field of biochemistry and molecular biology and financially supporting young researchers for travel expense or relocation. This collaboration should enable more people to join the line of research and provide new job opportunities. The exchange of experience and knowledge will facilitate the development of biopharmaceutical science.

Across the channel to Kyoto, Japan, the 18th World Congress of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (WCP) comes next. The International Union of Basic and Clinical Pharmacology (IUPHAR) invites Honjo to deliver the opening lecture. Feng Zhang, 2016 Tang Prize Biopharmaceutical Science laureate, will also present the Tang Prize Lecture in the congress.
Dr. Chern also urges everyone to watch 2018 Tang Prize laureate announcement live on the official website. From June 18-21, Taipei 10 o’clock (GMT+8), awardees of the four categories (Sustainable Development, Biopharmaceutical Science, Sinology and Rule of Law) will be disclosed in succession.

About Tang Prize
Dr. Samuel Yin, chairman of Ruentex Group, founded the Tang Prize in December of 2012 as an extension of the supreme value his family placed on education. Harkening back to the golden age of the Tang Dynasty in Chinese history, the Tang Prize seeks to be an inspiring force for people working in all corners of the world. For more information on the Tang Prize and its laureates, please visit www.tang-prize.org 

Contact 
                    Hannah Tu 
                    E-mail: thetangmedia@tang-prize.org

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