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Nobel Prize Season Just Began With an Award for Immunotherapy Pioneers—and a Prison Sentence

October 1, 2018, 11:29 AM UTC

It’s the first day of Nobel Prize week, and we already have two winners. The Nobel Prize for medicine this year goes to cancer researchers James P. Allison and Tasuku Honjo for their individual discoveries in the 1990s, which led to the development of cancer therapies that work by harnessing the patient’s immune system. Immunotherapy is now an important weapon in oncologists’ arsenals. The scientists based in Houston and Kyoto will share the prize worth more than $1 million.

Not on the schedule this year is the Nobel Prize for literature. After artistic tastemaker Jean-Claude Arnault was accused of sexual assault by 18 women last year, his wife was removed from the board of the Swedish Academy, and a number of members gave up their lifetime posts. Arnault was sentenced in Stockholm today to two years in prison for rape. The academy will award the 2018 and 2019 prizes for literature simultaneously next year.

Coming up next in Nobel Prize week:

  • The Nobel Prize in Physics on Tuesday, Oct. 2: Last year’s recipients were three scientists from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for their work on gravitational waves.
  • The Nobel Prize in Chemistry on Wednesday, Oct. 3: The 2017 prize went to three scientists who developed high-resolution imaging processes for biomolecules.
  • The Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, Oct. 5: A record 376 nominations were made in 2016. This year’s 331 nominees, of which 216 are individuals and 115 are organizations, is the second-highest on record. Last year, the winner was the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons.
  • The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel on Monday, Oct. 8: The Nobel Prize for Economics last year went to the University of Chicago’s Richard Thaler for his work on behavioral economics.

Nominees for the Nobel Prizes are kept secret for 50 years. The Nobel laureates will convene in Stockholm on Dec. 10 to receive their awards.