Alice is now the birthplace of two Nobel Prize winners.

Dr. James P. Allison, 70, was awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine along with Dr. Tasuku Honjo Monday morning for their discovery of cancer therapy by inhibition or negative immune regulation, according to a nobelprize.org press release. 

Allison is also a graduate of the University of Texas in Austin and since 2012 he has been Professor at University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, Houston, Texas and is affiliated with the Parker Institute for Cancer Immunotherapy.

Allison was born 1948 in Alice. He received his PhD in 1973 at the University of Texas. From 1974-1977 he was a postdoctoral fellow at the Scripps Clinic and Research Foundation, La Jolla, California. From 1977-1984 he was a faculty member at University of Texas System Cancer Center, Smithville, Texas; from 1985-2004 at University of California, Berkeley and from 2004-2012 at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York. From 1997-2012 he was an Investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute. 

Nobel Prize winner Robert F. Curl Jr. was born in Alice on August 23, 1933.

According to the Nobel Prize summary, 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 this year’s Nobel Laureates have established an entirely new principle for cancer therapy.

Allison studied a known protein that functions as a brake on the immune system. He realized the potential of releasing the brake and thereby unleashing our immune cells to attack tumors. He then developed this concept into a brand new approach for treating patients. 

In parallel, Honjo discovered a protein on immune cells and, after careful exploration of its function, eventually revealed that it also operates as a brake, but with a different mechanism of action. Therapies based on his discovery proved to be strikingly effective in the fight against cancer.

Allison and Honjo showed how different strategies for inhibiting the brakes on the immune system can be used in the treatment of cancer. The seminal discoveries by the two Laureates constitute a landmark in our fight against cancer.

The prize is currently worth $1,012,297.05 and will be split between the winners.

Allison is the second Nobel Prize winner with ties to Alice. 

Nobel Prize winner Robert F. Curl Jr. was born in Alice on August 23, 1933. Curl is an emeritus professor of chemistry at Rice University. He was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1996 for the discovery of fullerene.