Face to face with the scientist who gave cancer its penicillin moment

JAMES ALLISON was 10 years old when his mother died of lymphoma. His older brother and two uncles also lost their lives to cancer, and he himself has battled prostate cancer and melanoma.

It’s fitting then, that the US scientist is responsible for the biggest leap forward in oncology’s recent history. Some describe his development of ipilimumab (Yervoy) as cancer’s penicillin moment.

In patients with metastatic melanoma more than one-fifth who were first treated with the drug are still alive 10 years later.

I meet Professor Allison (pictured)