Two U.S. scientists whose work has contributed to creating immunological treatments for cancer are among the winners of this year’s Balzan Prizes, recognising scholarly and scientific achievements.
Another winner is economist Bina Agarwal, a professor at the University of Manchester, who was recognised in the gender studies category for her “heroic” work studying women’s contributions to agriculture in India.
James Allison of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center and Robert Schreiber of the Washington University School of Medicine were cited for their work on antibody treatments that has increased the survival of patients with metastatic melanoma. The Balzan Foundation awards two prizes in the sciences and two in the humanities each year, rotating specialities to highlight new or emerging areas of research and sustain fields that might be overlooked elsewhere.
Recipients receive 750,000 Swiss francs (₹5 crore), half of which must be used for research, preferably by young scholars or scientists.
Nobel Prize-winner Jules Hoffman, a presenter of the awards, said the work focusing on using the immune system to fight cancer, expanding from the traditional treatments of removal, radiation and chemotherapy, has already had success in 25 to 30% of melanoma patients in a study who had previously gone through the traditional battery of treatments.