Allison, James 2018 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal

Allison, James 2018 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal

James P. Allison, The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, received the 2018 Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal.

Allison’s pioneering research has had a vast impact on cancer therapy and the evolution of the entire field of cancer immunology. His work has advanced science while improving the health and wellbeing of cancer patients worldwide, a process that continues to this day.

This path began in 1983 when Allison reported on the protein structure of T cell receptor, providing one of the earliest looks at the molecules involved in T cell function. This led to the discovery of two molecules related to the activation of T cells, CD28 and CTLA-4, the second of which functions as an inhibitor that restricts T cell responses. In 1996 Allison showed that blocking CTLA-4 led to tumor rejection in mice. This opened up the field of “immune checkpoint therapy,” a paradigm shift in cancer treatment which targeted the immune system rather than tumors themselves.

After several years of clinical trials, CTLA-4 was approved as a standard treatment for patients with metastatic melanoma. It is currently being tested in several additional forms of tumors and has already benefitted the lives of tens of thousands of patients.

The Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal is awarded every two years for outstanding research in the medical sciences. The award is presented with a medal, a $25,000 prize and $50,000 to support the recipient's research.


Watch Allison's Acceptance Speech »

Press Release »

Jessie Stevenson Kovalenko Medal »

2018 NAS Award Recipients »

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