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Nobel Prize Awards

Like Md.'s pawpaw tree, groundbreaking science takes time to bear fruit

Like Md.'s pawpaw tree, groundbreaking science takes time to bear fruit

Last week, as my colleagues and I celebrated the Nobel Prize recognition for Kyoto University immunologist Tasuku Honjo — who was a postdoctoral fellow at the Carnegie Institution for Science’s Department of Embryology, where I work, in the 1970s — I reflected on how, like Maryland’s native pawpaw trees, groundbreaking science takes time to bear fruit.

Dr. Tasuku and his co-laureate, James Allison of the University of Texas Anderson Cancer Center, were recognized for discoveries of two separate “brakes” on the immune system’s abilities to recognize tumor cells as a threat. Similar to how a vehicle’s brakes prevent it from accelerating out of control, these brakes hold the immune...

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