Immunology

Immunology: timeline of key events

Jenner was an English physician who helped pioneer the smallpox vaccine based on his hypothesis that the pus in blisters milkmaids received from cowpox protected them from smallpox. To test out his theory in 1796 he inoculated the 8 year old son of his gardener with pus taken from the cowpox blisters of a local milkmaid. While the boy suffered a fever he showed no sign of infection with smallpox. Jenner then injected the child with smallpox material, a common method of immunisation at the time, known as variolation. Again he showed no sign of infection. Following this, Jenner tested the same technique in 23 further people. Based on his success, in 1840 the British government outlawed variolation and provided Jenner's method for free to prevent smallpox. Jenner's work laid the foundation for immunisation as a method for preventing disease and for contemporary discoveries in immunology. 1749-05-17T00:00:00+0000Jenner was an English physician who helped pioneer the smallpox vaccine based on his hypothesis that the pus in blisters milkmaids received from cowpox protected them from smallpox. To test out his theory in 1796 he inoculated the 8 year old son of his gardener with pus taken from the cowpox blisters of a local milkmaid. While the boy suffered a fever he showed now sign of infection with smallpox. Jenner then injected the child with smallpox material, a common method of immunisation at the time, known as variolation. Again he showed no sign of infection. Jenner then tested out the same technique in 23 further people. Based on his success, in 1840 the British government decided to outlaw variolation and instead provide Jenner's method for free to prevent smallpox. Jenner's work laid the foundation for immunisation as a method for preventing disease and for contemporary discoveries in immunology. 1823-01-26T00:00:00+0000Mechnikov was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1908 for his discovery of phagocytes (macrophages), a type of immune cell that protects the body by ingesting harmful foreign substances like bacteria and dead or dying cells. He made the discovery in 1882 while studying an unusual group of cells that clustered around thorns he pinned into starfish larvae. Based on this work he hypothesised that inflammation resulted from the process by which white blood cells attacked and destroyed bacteria. The scientific community took time to accept this idea. 1845-05-16T00:00:00+0000Richet was a physiologist who shared the 1913 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of anaphylaxis, an acute allergic reaction where extremely small doses of an allergen may cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock. This phenomenon he discovered with Paul Portier after they attempted to immunise dogs against a toxin from sea anemones. Some of these dogs developed respiratory distress and died when injected with a second dos of the toxin. Richet and Portier hypothesised this was due to reduced immunity and increased sensitivity to the toxin. Their finding provided the first evidence that the immune system could damage as well as provide protection against disease. Richet went on to help elucidate the cause of hay fever, asthma and other allergic reactions to foreign substances. 1850-08-26T00:00:00+0000Ehrlich played a significant role in the development of the first serum therapy to combat diphtheria in the 1890s and devised methods for standardising therapeutic serums. In addition he invented staining techniques for distinguishing different types of blood cells which laid the foundation for diagnosing blood disorders. In 1900 he popularised the 'magic bullet' concept which promoted the idea of developing a drug capable of killing specific disease-causing microbes, like bacteria, without harming the body itself. Nine years later he succeeded in creating Salvasan, the first drug created to target a specific pathogen and the first effective medical treatment for syphilis. Ehrlich also coined the term 'antibody' and transformed understandings of how the immune system worked. In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the back of this work. Despite his groundbreaking research, Ehrlich struggled to get a permanent position because of his Jewish background. 1854-03-14T00:00:00+0000Landsteiner was an immunologist and pathologist who has been called the founder of transfusion medicine. In 1930 he won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his discovery of the main human blood types (A, B and O), published in 1901, and for his development of the ABO system of blood typing which enabled blood transfusion to become a safe medical procedure. In 1909 he also helped discover the microorganism responsible for poliovirus which provided the foundation for the development of the polio vaccine. He also discovered the Rh factor in 1940. This is an inherited protein found on the surface of red blood cells. This can cause problems in pregnancy for women with the Rh-negative blood group whose foetus has the Rh-positive blood group. 1868-06-14T00:00:00+0000Bordet was a Belgian physician, immunologist and microbiologist. He is best known for winning the 1919 Nobel Prize for his discovery of two components in the blood - antibodies and complement proteins - that help destroy invading bacteria. They do this by rupturing the cell walls of the bacteria, a process known as bacteriolysis. Bordet made the discovery in 1895. He subsequently found, in 1898, that red blood cells from one animal species injected into another get destroyed by haemolysis - a process analogous to bacteriolysis. His research laid the foundation for the development of diagnostic tests that looked for antibodies in the blood to detect infectious agents. The first one was for typhoid, developed in 1896.1870-06-13T00:00:00+0000Heidelberger was one of the founders of immunochemistrty, a branch of biochemistry that investigates the mammalian immune system at the molecular level. He first made his mark in 1923 when he found, with Oswald Avery, that that the immune system could target bacterial sugars. The two scientists made the discovery while investigating a capsular substance that envelops pneumococcus and other species of bacteria. Their work helped determine that antibodies were proteins. It also paved the way to improving the production of more effective serum therapies for the prevention of bacterial infectious diseases like pneumonia and meningitis. 1888-04-29T00:00:00+0000Antiserum preparted against human oesteogenic sarcoma in an ass and 2 dogs. Reported successful in treating 50 patients suffering from cancer of the stomach and chest wall. J Hericourt, C Richet, 'Traitement d'un cas de sarcome par la sarcome par la serotherapie', Seances Acad Sci, 120 (1895), 948-50.1895-01-01T00:00:00+0000The vaccine was developed by William Coley, a New York surgeon, together with the pharmaceutical company Parke, Davis & Co. The vaccine contained a combination of heat-killed bacteria. 1899-01-01T00:00:00+0000A virologist and physician, Burnet is best known for his discovery of acquired immunological tolerance and demonstrating how the body recognises the difference between self and non-self. Burnet shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1960 for this work. His research helped advance the development of vaccines, tissue transplantation, monoclonal antibodies and associated therapies. In addition, Burnett made significant contributions to the development of techniques to grow and study the influenza virus, including hemagglutination assays. Based on his study of the genetics of the virus he showed that the influenza virus recombined at a high frequency. 1899-09-03T00:00:00+0000Patients reported an alleviation of their symptoms. E von Leyden, F Blumenthal, 'Vorlaufige Mittheilungen uber einige Ergebnisse der Krebsforschung aug der I. medizinischen Klinik', Deutsche Med Wschr, 28 (1902), 637-8.1902-01-01T00:00:00+0000Boyd was an immunologist who helped show that blood types are inherited and not influenced by the environment. Based on his genetic analysis of blood groups he divided the world population up into 13 distinct geographical races. 1903-03-04T00:00:00+0000Snell was a major founder of immunogenetics as a discipline. He is best known for helping to identify the major histocompatibility complex, a group of genes that code for proteins found on the surface of cells that help the immune system differentiate between self and nonself cells, and demonstrating its role in tissue graft rejection. This work laid the foundation for carrying out successful transplants in both animals and humans. Snell shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions'.1903-12-19T00:00:00+0000Chase was an immunologist who in the early 1940s discovered that white blood cells trigger the immune response in the body confronting a foreign invader. His finding laid to rest the belief that antibodies by themselves could protect the body from allergies and pathogens. Chase also uncovered the second arm of the immune system, known as cell-mediated immunity, paving the way to the discovery of lymphocyte cells and B and T cells.1905-09-17T00:00:00+0000The research was carried out by Peyton Rous. The idea that a virus could cause cancer was greeted with scepticism in the scientific community.1911-01-01T00:00:00+0000Jerne shared the 1984 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'theories concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system'. His work laid the foundation for the production of monoclonal antibodies. He was the founder and director of the Basel Institute of Immunology.1911-12-23T00:00:00+0000 JB Murphy, 'Studies on tissue specificity', Journal of Experimental Medicine, 19 (1914), 181-86.1914-01-01T00:00:00+0000The experiments involved increasing the number of lymphocytes in the blood of mice by treating them with low doses of X-rays. JB Murphy, JJ Morton, 'The effects of X-rays on the resistance to cancer in mice', Science, 42 (1915), 842. 1915-01-01T00:00:00+0000Medawar was a zoologist and biologist whose studies of graft rejection demonstrated the principle of acquired immunological tolerance, the state by which substances originally considered foreign become regarded as self by the immune system. This finding laid the foundation for tissue and organ transplantation. In 1960 Medawar was awarded the Nobel Prize for the work he did in the area. 1915-02-28T00:00:00+0000Ehrlich played a significant role in the development of the first serum therapy to combat diphtheria in the 1890s and devised methods for standardising therapeutic serums. In addition he invented staining techniques for distinguishing different types of blood cells which laid the foundation for diagnosing blood disorders. In 1900 he popularised the 'magic bullet' concept which promoted the idea of developing a drug capable of killing specific disease-causing microbes, like bacteria, without harming the body itself. Nine years later he succeeded in creating Salvasan, the first drug created to target a specific pathogen and the first effective medical treatment for syphilis. Ehrlich also coined the term 'antibody' and transformed understandings of how the immune system worked. In 1908 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the back of this work. Despite his groundbreaking research, Ehrlich struggled to get a permanent position because of his Jewish background.1915-08-20T00:00:00+0000The trials were carried out by James B Murphy and colleagues at the Rockefeller Institute. 1916-01-01T00:00:00+0000Mechnikov was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1908 for his discovery of phagocytes (macrophages), a type of immune cell that projects the body by ingesting harmful foreign substances like bacteria and dead or dying cells. He made the discovery in 1882 while studying an unusual group of cells that clustered around thorns he pinned into starfish larvae. Based on this work he hypothesised that inflammation resulted from the process by which white blood cells attacked and destroyed bacteria. The scientific community took time to accept this idea.1916-07-15T00:00:00+0000Dausset was an immunologist. In 1952 he noticed that white blood cells taken from patients who had received blood transfusions agglutinated when mixed with antibodies. He realised this was due to the genetic differences between donors and recipients. Eight years later he discovered the first leukocyte antigen, an important marker found on the surface of cells that helps the immune system recognise foreign substances. He subsequently worked out the complex relationship between tissue compatibility and graft survival. In 1980 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on tissue typing which is essential to the success of transplants. 1916-10-19T00:00:00+0000Murray was a plastic surgeon. He performed the first successful kidney transplant between identical twins in 1954. The operation last five and half hours and involved the transplantation of a healthy kidney from Robert Herrick into his twin brother, Richard, who was dying of chronic nephritis. Four years later Murray performed the first successful transplant from a non-identical donor and in 1962 the first cadaveric renal transplant. In 1990 Murray shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease.' 1919-04-01T00:00:00+0000Thomas was a physician who was a major pioneer of cell and organ transplantation. He is best known for his development of bone marrow transplants, which became a life-saving treatment for blood cancers. Donnall developed the technique on the back of research carried out in the Manhattan Project which showed that 'factors' released by spleen cells stimulated the recovery of irradiated bone marrow. In 1993 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the basis of this research.1920-03-15T00:00:00+0000Benacerraf was an immunologist who, based on experiments with guinea pigs in the 1960s, provided the pathway to understand how T lymphocytes recognise structures on the cell surface of foreign substances that invade the body. He showed that immune responses are controlled by genes that exist in a certain area on a certain chromosome. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1980 for his discoveries of genes that regulate immune responses and the role some of these genes play in autoimmune disorders. Born in Venezuaela and brought up in Paris, Bernaceraf and his parents were forced to move to United States in 1940 because of their Jewish heritage. 1920-10-29T00:00:00+0000Good was a physician and scientific researcher whose work on the cellular mechanisms of immunity earned him the reputation as one of the founders of modern immunology. In 1962 he helped demonstrate the two-component system of immunity. The first consisted of T cells, produced by the thymus gland, which he showed were important players in cell-mediated immunity. The second were the B cells, produced by the bone marrow, which he identified as responsible for producing antibodies. Three years later he demonstrated the important role tonsils play in the immune system. In addition to these landmark discoveries, he worked out, through experiments on mice, the crucial role of T cells in the rejection of skin allografts. He used this finding to perform the first successful bone marrow transplant between persons who were not identical twins. 1922-05-21T00:00:00+0000Askonas co-developed one of the first systems for the cloning of antibody-forming B cells in vivo, some of the earliest monoclonal antibodies. She was also one of the first scientists to isolate and clone virus specific T lymphocytes, laying the foundation for defining different influenza sub-sets and improving vaccines. 1923-04-01T00:00:00+0000Milstein was an Argentinian biochemist. Together with Georges Kohler, Milstein developed the first unlimited supply of long-lasting monoclonal antibodies. Their technique now underpins the development and application of many diagnostics and therapeutics. Kohler and Milstein devised the method as part of their search for a tool to investigate how the immune system can make so many different kinds antibodies, each able to bind to a highly specific receptor on foreign substances that invade the body. 1927-10-08T00:00:00+0000E Witebsky, 'Disponibilitiit und Spezifitat alkoholloslicher Strukturen von Organen und bosartigen Geschwulsten', Zeitschrift fur Imrnunitaetsforschung, Allergie und Klinische Immunologie' 62 (1929), 35-73. 1929-01-01T00:00:00+0000Founded by Clarence Little, one of the leading researchers into genetic differences governing the rejection of foreign tissues. 1929-01-01T00:00:00+0000R Pearl, 'Cancer and tuberculosis', American Journal of Hygiene, 9 (1929), 97-149. 1929-04-01T00:00:00+0000Edelman was a biologist renowned for his research on antibodies. His research helped determine the chemical structure of antibodies in the early 1960s. It showed that antibodies were made up of two light and heavy chains linked together by disulfide bonds. The breakthrough immediately galvanised feverish activity in all fields of immunological science, paving the way to the development of antibodies for both diagnostics and therapy. Edelman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1972 for his work.1929-07-01T00:00:00+0000Miller was an immunologist who demonstrated the importance of the thymus in protecting the body against infections and rejecting foreign tissues. Prior to this the thymus was thought to have no function. Miller also identified two major subsets of lymphocytes (T and B cells) and that these interacted to allow normal antibody production. He later showed that T cells are produced by the thymus. In 1963 he provided the first evidence that thymus-derived immune cells can provide protection against certain tumours. This laid an stepping stone in the development of cancer immunotherapy. 1931-04-02T00:00:00+0000Richet was a French physiologist who shared the 1913 Nobel Prize for Medicine for the discovery of anaphylaxis, an acute allergic reaction where extremely small doses of an allergen may cause life-threatening anaphylactic shock. This phenomenon he discovered with Paul Portier after they attempted to immunise dogs against a toxin from sea anemones. Some of these dogs developed respiratory distress and died when injected with a second dos of the toxin. Richet and Portier hypothesised this was due to reduced immunity and increased sensitivity to the toxin. Their finding provided the first evidence that the immune system could damage as well as provide protection against disease. Richet went on to help elucidate the cause of hay fever, asthma and other allergic reactions to foreign substances.1935-12-04T00:00:00+0000Klinman was an immunologist who developed the splenic focus assay, a tool that allowed analysis of antibody production derived from single clones of B cells. He used the tool to analyse immune tolerance and immune responses to influenza. In additon he invented the splenic fragment system, a technique that helped generate some of earliest monoclonal antibodies against viral antigens and cancer. 1937-03-23T00:00:00+0000Tonegawa is a Japanese molecular biologist who received the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine in 1987 for discovering how the immune system genetically changes the body's antibodies to counter different foreign invaders. Based on experiments he began on mice in 1976, he demonstrated that genes in mature B cells move around, recombine and get deleted to form the diversity of the variable region of antibodies. 1939-09-06T00:00:00+0000The mice were developed by George Snell. 1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000MK Barrett, 'The influence of genetic constitution upon the induction of resistance to transplantable tumors', Journal of the National Cancer Institute, 2 (1940), 387-93.1940-01-01T00:00:00+0000Doherty was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1996 for helping to discover how T cells recognise virus infected cells and showing the role of the major histocompatability complex in fighting the virus. His research is currently directed towards understanding and preventing the severe consequences of influenza virus infection. 1940-10-15T00:00:00+0000Landsteiner was an Austrian-American immunologist and pathologist who has been called the founder of transfusion medicine. In 1930 he won the Nobel Prize for Medicine for his discovery of the main human blood types (A, B and O), published in 1901, and for his development of the ABO system of blood typing which enabled blood transfusion to become a safe medical procedure. In 1909 he also helped discover the microorganism responsible for poliovirus which provided the foundation for the development of the polio vaccine. He also discovered the Rh factor in 1940. This is an inherited protein found on the surface of red blood cells. This can cause problems in pregnancy for women with the Rh-negative blood group whose foetus has the Rh-positive blood group.1943-06-26T00:00:00+0000Zinkernagel shared the 1996 Nobel Prize for Medicine for helping to discover how T cells recognise infected cells. 1944-01-06T00:00:00+0000Waldmann demonstrated how monoclonal antibodies could induce tolerance to foreign proteins and transplanted tissues. He and his team developed the first humanised monoclonal antibody (alemtuzumab) which is now used for combating leukaemia, preventing transplant rejection and treating autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis and vasculitis. 1945-02-27T00:00:00+0000Severity of GvHD in humans unforeseen, and seemingly insurmountable 1960-01-01T00:00:00+0000Bordet was a Belgian physician, immunologist and microbiologist. He is best known for winning the 1919 Nobel Prize for his discovery of two components in the blood - antibodies and complement proteins - that help destroy invading bacteria. They do this by rupturing the cell walls of the bacteria, a process known as bacteriolysis. Bordet made the discovery in 1895. He subsequently found, in 1898, that red blood cells from one animal species injected into another get destroyed by haemolysis - a process analogous to bacteriolysis. His research laid the foundation for the development of diagnostic tests that looked for antibodies in the blood to detect infectious agents. The first one was for typhoid, developed in 1896. 1961-04-06T00:00:00+0000The proceedure was performed by physician-scientist Robert Good to treat boy born with severe combined immunodeficiency. 1968-01-01T00:00:00+0000O Stutman, 'Tumor development after 3-methylcholanthrene in immunologically deficient athymic-nude mice', Science, 183 (1974), 534-6.1974-02-08T00:00:00+0000R Kiessling, E Klein, H Pross, H Wigzell, 'Natural” killer cells in the mouse. II. Cytotoxic cells with specificity for mouse Moloney leukemia cells. Characteristics of the killer cell', European Journal of Immunology, 5 (1975), 117-121.1975-02-01T00:00:00+0000M Jondal, H Pross, 'Surface markers on human B and T lymphocytes, Cytotoxicity against cell lines as a functional marker for lymphocyte subpopulations', International Journal of Cancer, 15 (1975) 15, 596-605. 1975-04-15T00:00:00+0000GT Stevenson, F K Stevenson, 'Antibody to a molecularly defined antigen confined to a tumour cell surface', Nature, 254 (1975), 714-16.1975-04-24T00:00:00+0000EA Carswell, LJ Old, RL Kassel, S Green, N Fiore, B Williamson, 'An endotoxin-induced serum factor that causes necrosis of tumors', Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 72/9 (1975), 3666-70.1975-09-01T00:00:00+0000DA Morgan, FW Ruscetti, RC. Gallo, 'Selective in vitro growth of T lymphocytes from normal human bone marrows', Science, 193 (1976), 1007-08. 1976-09-10T00:00:00+0000The work was conducted by a team led by Brigette Askonas. It was published in AJ McMichael, A Ting, HJ Zweerink, BA Askonas, 'HLA restriction of cell-mediated lysis of influenza virus-infected human cells', Nature, 270/5637 (1977), 524-6; AJ McMichael, BA Askonas, 'Influenza virus-specific cytotoxic T cells in man; induction and properties of the cytotoxic cell', European Journal Immunolology, 8 (1978), 705-11.1977-01-01T00:00:00+0000JH Robinson, JJT Owen, 'Generation of T-cell function in organ culture of foetal mouse thymus I. Mitogen responsiveness', Clin Exp Immunol 23 (1977), 347-54.1977-02-01T00:00:00+0000AW Burghess, J Camakaris, D Metcalf, 'Purification and properties of colony-stimulating factor from mouse lung conditioned medium', Journal Biol Chem, 252 (1977), 1998-2003.1977-03-25T00:00:00+0000FK Stevenson, E V elliott, G T Stevenson, 'Some effects of leukaemic B lymphocytes of antibodies to defined regions of their surface immunoglobulin', Immunology 3 (1977), 54-9.1977-04-01T00:00:00+0000Six groups of investigators working independently from each other made the discovery. Those involved in the work included Lionel Crawford and David Lane; Albert Deleo and Lloyd Old; and Arnold Levine. 1979-01-01T00:00:00+0000EA Grimm, A Mazumder, HZ Zhang, SA Rosenberg, 'Lymphokine-activated killer cell phenomenon', Journal Experimental Medicine, 155 (1982), 1823-41.1982-06-01T00:00:00+0000JP Allison, BW McIntyre, D Bloch, 'Tumor-specific antigen of murine T-lymphoma defined with monoclonal antibody', Journal Immunology, 129 (1982), 2293.1982-11-01T00:00:00+0000A N Houghton, M Eisinger, A P Albino, J G Cairncross, L J Old, 'Surface antigens of melanocytes and melanomas. Markers of melanocyte differentiation and melanoma subsets', Journal Experimental Medicine, 156/6 (1982), 1755-66.1982-12-01T00:00:00+0000Based on investigation of blood drawn from AIDS patients who developed Kaposi sarcoma, a cancer caused by a virus. The research was carried out by Susan Krown and Bijan Safai.1983-01-01T00:00:00+0000GC Bosma, RP Custer, MJ Bosma, 'A severe combined immunodeficiency mutation in the mouse', Nature, 301 (1983), 527-30. 1983-02-10T00:00:00+0000T Taniguchi et al, 'Structure and expression of a cloned cDNA for human interleukin-2', Nature, 302 (1983), 305-10.1983-03-24T00:00:00+0000J Kappler et al, 'The major histocompatibility complex-restricted antigen receptor on T cells in mouse and man', Cell, 35 (1983), 295-02. 1983-11-01T00:00:00+0000C Czerkinsky, L Nilsson, H Nygren, O Ouchterlony, A Tarkowski, 'A solid-phase enzyme-linked immunospot (ELISPOT) assay for enumeration of specific antibody-secreting cells', Journal of Immunology Methods, 65/1-2 (1983), 109-21.1983-12-16T00:00:00+0000A Knuth, B Danowski, HF Oettgen, LJ Old, 'T cell-mediated cytotoxicity against malignant melanoma', Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 81 (1984), 3511-15. 1984-06-01T00:00:00+0000PJ Maddon et al, Cell, 42 (1985), 93-104; Littman et al, Cell, 40 (1985), 237-46. 1985-01-01T00:00:00+0000An Australian virologist and physician, Burnet is best known for his discovery of acquired immunological tolerance and demonstrating how the body recognises the difference between self and non-self. Burnet shared the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1960 for this work. His research helped advance the development of vaccines, tissue transplantation, monoclonal antibodies and associated therapies. In addition, Burnett made significant contributions to the development of techniques to grow and study the influenza virus, including hemagglutination assays. Based on his study of the genetics of the virus he showed that the influenza virus recombined at a high frequency. 1985-08-31T00:00:00+0000SA Rosenberg et al, 'Observations on the systemic administration of autologous lymphokine-activated killer cells and recombinant interleukin-2 to patients with metastatic cancer', New England Journal of Medicine, 313 (1985), 1485-92.1985-12-05T00:00:00+0000MT Lotze, AE Chang, CA Seipp, C Simpson, JT Vetto, AS Rosenberg, 'High-dose recombinant interleukin 2 in the treatment of patients with disseminated cancer', JAMA, 256 (1986), 3117-24. 1986-12-12T00:00:00+0000The research was led by Thierry Boon and Etienne De Plaen at the Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research, Belgium1987-01-01T00:00:00+0000The clones were isolated from the blood of melanoma patient with long-term remission following vaccination with irradiated mutagenized autologous tumor cells. M Hein et al, 'Production of stable cytolytic T-cell clones directed against autologous human melanoma', International Journal of Cancer, 39 (1987), 390-96. 1987-03-15T00:00:00+0000Z Dembi et al, 'Transfection of the CD8 gene enhances T-cell recognition', Nature, 326 (1987), 510-11.1987-04-02T00:00:00+0000The experiments, carried out in mice by Brigette Askobas and her colleagues, showed that T cells transferred into RSV infected mice showed that the T cells could protect against viral replication, eliminating residual virus from immunosuppressed mice. It also showed that T cells could at the same time cause enhanced lung disease that could be leathal. MJ Cannon, EJ Stott, G Taylor, BA Askonas, 'Clearance of persistent respiratory syncytial virus infections in immunodeficient mice following transfer of primed T cells', Immunology, 62 (1987), 133-38; MJ Cannon, PJ Openshaw, BA Askonas, 'Cytotoxic T cells clear virus but augment lung pathology in mice infected with respiratory syncytial virus', Journal Experimental Medicine, 168/3 (1988), 1163-8.1987-04-30T00:00:00+0000JF Brunet et al, 'A new member of the immunoglobulin superfamily--CTLA-4', Nature 328 (1987), 267-70. 1987-07-16T00:00:00+0000Medawar was a zoologist and biologist whose work on skin grafts demonstrated the principle of acquired immunological tolerance, the state by which substances originally considered foreign become regarded as self by the immune system. His work helped improve the success of tissue and organ transplants. In 1960 Medawar was awarded the Nobel Prize for the work he did in the area. 1987-10-02T00:00:00+0000C Doyle, JL Strominger, 'Interaction between CD4 and class II MHC molecules mediates cell adhesion', Nature, 330 (1987), 256-9.1987-11-19T00:00:00+0000G Degiovanni et al, European Journal Immunology, 18 (1988+), 671-6; Knuth et al, Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 86 (1989), 2804-08; Van den Eynde et al, International Journal of Cancer, 15 /44 (1989), 634-40. 1988-05-01T00:00:00+0000CE Rudd, JM Trevillyan, JD Dasgupta, LL Wong, SF Schlossman, 'The CD4 receptor is complexed in detergent lysates to a protein-tyrosine kinase (Pp58) from human T lymphocytes', Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 85 (1988), 5190-94.1988-07-01T00:00:00+00001988-07-14T00:00:00+0000P Dariavach, MG Mattei, P Golstein, MP Lefranc, 'Human Ig superfamily CTLA-4 gene: chromosomal localization and identity of protein sequence between murine and human CTLA-4 cytoplasmic domains', European Journal Immunology, 18 (1988), 1901-05.1988-12-01T00:00:00+0000CV Thompson, T Lindsten, JA Ledbetter, SL Kunkel, SA Young, SG Emerson, JM Leiden, CL June, 'CD28 activation pathway regulates the production of multiple T-cell-derived lymphokines/cytokines', Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A , 86 (1989),1333-7.1989-02-01T00:00:00+0000M Kobayashi, L Fitz, M Ryan, RM Hewick, SC Clark, S Chan, R Loudon, F Sherman, B Perussia, G Trinchieri, ' Identification and purification of natural killer cell stimulatory factor (NKSF), a cytokine with multiple biologic effects on human lymphocytes', Journal Expermental Medicine', 170 (1989), 827-45.1989-09-01T00:00:00+0000G Gross, T Waks, Z Eshhar, 'Expression of immunoglobulin-T-cell receptor chimeric molecules as functional receptors with antibody-type specificity (chimeric genes/antibody variable region)', Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 86 (1989), 10024-8.1989-12-01T00:00:00+0000The approval was given based on results from a clinical trial carried out by Harry Herr and Herbert Oettgen. The BCG vaccine stimulates an immune response that targets both the tuberculosis bacteria and bladder cancer cells. 1990-01-01T00:00:00+0000Heidelberger was one of the founders of immunochemistrty, a branch of biochemistry that investigates the mammalian immune system at the molecular level. He first made his mark in 1923 when he found with Oswald Avery that that the immune system could target bacterial sugars. The two scientists made the discovery while investigating a capsular substance that envelops pneumococcus and other species of bacteria. Their work helped determine that antibodies were proteins. It also paved the way to improving the production of more effective serum therapies for the prevention of bacterial infectious like pneumonia and meningitis.1991-06-25T00:00:00+0000G Dranoff, E Jaffee, A Lazenby, P Golumbek, H Levitsky, K Brose, V Jackson, H Hamada, D Pardoll, RC Mulligan, 'Vaccination with irradiated tumor cells engineered to secrete murine granulocyte-macrophage colony-stimulating factor stimulates potent, specific, and long-lasting anti-tumor immunity', Proc Natl Acad Sci USA, 90 (1993), 3539–43.1993-04-15T00:00:00+0000A Bendelac et al, Science, 263 (1994), 1774-78; A Bendelac et al, Science, 268 (1995), 863-5. 1994-03-25T00:00:00+0000Jerne shared the 1984 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'theories concerning the specificity in development and control of the immune system'. His work laid the foundation for the production of monoclonal antibodies. He was the founder and director of the Basel Institute of Immunology. 1994-10-07T00:00:00+0000S Sakaguchi, N Sakaguchi, M Asano, M Itoh, M Toda, 'Immunologic self-tolerance maintained by activated T cells expressing IL-2 receptor alpha-chains (CD25)', Journal Immunology, 155 (1995), 1151-64. 1995-08-01T00:00:00+0000DR Leach, MF Krummel, JP Allison, 'Enchancement of antitumor immunity by CTLA-4 blockade', Science, 271/5256 (1996), 1734-36. The discovery laid the foundation for the development immune checkpoint inhibitor drugs to unleash the immune system's destruction of cancer. 1996-03-22T00:00:00+0000Snell was a major founder of immunogenetics as a discipline. He is best known for helping to identify the major histocompatibility complex, a group of genes that code for proteins found on the surface of cells that help the immune system differentiate between self and nonself cells, and demonstrating its role in tissue graft rejection. This work laid the foundation for carrying out successful transplants in both animals and humans. Snell shared the 1980 Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning genetically determined structures on the cell surface that regulate immunological reactions'.1996-06-06T00:00:00+0000B Bogen, 'Peripheral T cell tolerance as a tumor escape mechanism', European Journal Immunology, 26 (1996), 2671-79.1996-11-01T00:00:00+0000Launched by the biotechnology company Medarex in collaboration with Jim Allison. 2000-01-01T00:00:00+0000Research conducted by a team lead by Martha Jordan and published in Nature Immunology2001-03-28T00:00:00+0000Milstein was an Argentinian biochemist. Together with Georges Kohler, Milstein developed the first unlimited supply of long-lasting monoclonal antibodies. Their technique now underpins the development and application of many diagnostics and therapeutics. Kohler and Milstein devised the method as part of their search for a tool to investigate how the immune system can make so many different kinds antibodies, each able to bind to a highly specific receptor on foreign substances that invade the body. 2002-03-24T00:00:00+0000Research led by Rajasekharan Somasundaram and Dorothee Herlyn published in Cancer Research.2002-09-14T00:00:00+0000JD Fontenot, MA Gavin, AY Rudensky, 'Foxp3 programs the development and function of CD4+CD25+ regulatory T cells', Nature Immunology, 4 (2003), 330-36.2003-03-03T00:00:00+0000Good was an American physician and scientific researcher whose work on the cellular mechanisms of immunity earned him the reputation as one of the founders of modern immunology. In 1962 he helped demonstrate the two-component system of immunity. The first consisted of T cells, produced by the thymus gland, which he showed were important players in cell-mediated immunity. The second were the B cells, produced by the bone marrow, which he identified as responsible for producing antibodies. Three years later he demonstrated the important role tonsils play in the immune system. In addition to these landmark discoveries, he worked out, through experiments on mice, the crucial role of T cells in the rejection of skin allografts. He used this finding to perform the first successful bone marrow transplant between persons who were not identical twins.2003-06-13T00:00:00+0000Chase was an American immunologist who in the early 1940s discovered that white blood cells trigger the immune response in the body confronting a foreign invader. His finding laid to rest the belief that antibodies by themselves could protect the body from allergies and pathogens. Chase also uncovered the second arm of the immune system, known as cell-mediated immunity, paving the way to the discovery of lymphocyte cells and B and T cells.2004-01-05T00:00:00+0000Dausset was a French immunologist. In 1952 he noticed that white blood cells taken from patients who had received blood transfusions agglutinated when mixed with antibodies. He realised this was due to the genetic differences between donors and recipients. Eight years later he discovered the first leukocyte antigen, an important marker found on the surface of cells that helps the immune system recognise foreign substances. He subsequently worked out the complex relationship between tissue compatibility and graft survival. In 1980 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for his work on tissue typing which is essential to the success of transplants. 2009-06-06T00:00:00+0000Klinman was an American immunologist who developed the splenic focus assay, a tool that allowed analysis of antibody production derived from single clones of B cells. He used the tool to analyse immune tolerance and immune responses to influenza. In additon he invented the splenic fragment system, a technique that helped generate some of earliest monoclonal antibodies against viral antigens and cancer.2010-05-04T00:00:00+0000Benacerraf was an immunologist who, based on experiments with guinea pigs in the 1960s, provided the pathway to understand how T lymphocytes recognise structures on the cell surface of foreign substances that invade the body. He showed that immune responses are controlled by genes that exist in a certain area on a certain chromosome. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1980 for his discoveries of genes that regulate immune responses and the role some of these genes play in autoimmune disorders. Born in Venezuaela and brought up in Paris, Bernaceraf and his parents were forced to move to United States in 1940 because of their Jewish heritage. 2011-08-02T00:00:00+0000Thomas was a physician who was a major pioneer of cell and organ transplantation. He is best known for his development of bone marrow transplants, which became a life-saving treatment for blood cancers. Donnall developed the technique on the back of research carried out in the Manhattan Project which showed that 'factors' released by spleen cells stimulated the recovery of irradiated bone marrow. In 1990 he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine on the basis of this research.2012-10-20T00:00:00+0000Murray was an American plastic surgeon. He performed the first successful kidney transplant between identical twins in 1954. The operation last five and half hours and involved the transplantation of a healthy kidney from Robert Herrick into his twin brother, Richard, who was dying of chronic nephritis. Four years later Murray performed the first successful transplant from a non-identical donor and in 1962 the first cadaveric renal transplant. In 1990 Murray shared the Nobel Prize for Medicine for 'discoveries concerning organ and cell transplantation in the treatment of human disease.' 2012-11-26T00:00:00+0000Marketed as Lemtrada, the drug was the first ever ever humanised monoclonal antibody produced. It started life as a laboratory tool for investigating immune tolerance and was subsequently approved for the treatment of leukaemia. The drug has also proven useful for treating a number of other auto-immune conditions including vasculitis. 2014-04-04T00:00:00+0000Edelman was an American biologist renowned for his research on antibodies, the body's defense against harmful foreign substances like viruses and bacteria. His research helped determine the chemical structure of antibodies in the early 1960s. It showed that antibodies were made up of two light and heavy chains linked together by disulfide bonds. The breakthrough immediately galvanised feverish activity in all fields of immunological science, paving the way to the development of antibodies for both diagnostics and therapy. Edelman was awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1972 for his work. 2014-05-17T00:00:00+0000Based on the analysis of data from hundreds of patients, scientists found markers on tumour cells flagging up very early mutations of the disease. The advantage is these appear on all tumour cells, thereby providing a good target for treatment. N. McGranahan, et al, 'Clonal neoantigens elicit T cell immunoreactivity and sensitivity to immune checkpoint blockade', Science, 351/6280 (2016), 1463-69. 2016-03-25T00:00:00+0000UK scientists show how the TALENs gene editing tool can be used to switch on the immune system to stop cancer. L. Menger, et al, 'TALEN-Mediated Inactivation of PD-1 in Tumor-Reactive Lymphocytes Promotes Intratumoral T-cell Persistence and Rejection of Established Tumors', Cancer Research, 2016, doi: 10.1158/0008-5472.CAN-15-3352. 2016-04-15T00:00:00+0000Research carried out by a team led by Dimitry I Gabriolvich. 2016-08-05T00:00:00+0000
Date Event People Places
17 May 1749Edward Jenner was born in Berkeley, United KingdomJennerBerkeley, United Kingdom
26 Jan 1823Edward Jenner diedJenner 
16 May 1845Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov was born in Kharkov (now Kharkiv), Russian Empire (now Ukraine)MechnikovPasteur Institute
26 Aug 1850Charles R Richet was born in Paris, FranceRichetSorbonne University
14 Mar 1854Paul Ehrlich was born in Strehlen (now Strzelin), Prussia (now Poland)EhrlichStrehlen, Prussia
14 Jun 1868Karl Landsteiner was born in Vienna, AustriaLandsteinerRockefeller Institute
13 Jun 1870Jules Bordet was born in Soignies, BelgiumBordetPasteur Institute
29 Apr 1888Michael Heidelberger was born in New York City, USAHeidelbergerRockefeller Institute, Columbia University
1895Humans treated with antiserum prepared against human cancer. This established the principle of using serotherapy to fight cancerHericourt, RichetCollege de France
1899First commercial vaccine developed for treatment of sarcomaColeyMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Parke Davis & Co
3 Sep 1899Frank Macfarlane Burnet born in Traralgon, Victoria, Australia BurnetWalter and Eliza Hall Institute
1902First attempt to vaccinate against cancer with a patient's own tumour tissuevon Leyden, Blumenthal 
4 Mar 1903William Clouser Boyd was born in Dearborn, Missouri, USABoydBoston University
19 Dec 1903George D Snell was born in Bradford MA, USASnellJackson Laboratory
17 Sep 1905Merrill W Chase born in Providence, RI, USAChaseRockefeller University
1911Research provided the first evidence that virus transmits cancer in chickensRousRockefeller Institute
23 Dec 1911Niels K Jerne was born in London, United KingdomJerneBasel Institute for Immunology
1914Experiments by James B Murphy demonstrate that lymphocytes help animals reject grafted tumoursMurphyRockefeller Intitute
1915 James B Murphy puts forward hypothesis that the nonspecific stimulation of lymphocytes could provide a cure for cancer based on experiments he and John J Morton carried out on miceMurphy, MortonRockefeller Institute
28 Feb 1915Peter Brian Medawar was born in Rio de Janeiro, BrazilMedawarUniversity College London
20 Aug 1915Paul Ehrlich diedEhrlichGoettingen University
1916 - 1922Disappointing results reported from clinical trials treating breast cancer patients with low doses of X-ray radiation following tumour removal, discrediting the theory that stimulation of lymphocytes could help cure cancer. MurphyRockefeller Institute
15 Jul 1916Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov diedMechnikovPasteur Institute
19 Oct 1916Jean Dausset was born in Toulouse, FranceDaussetUniversity of Paris
1 Apr 1919Joseph Murray was born in Milford MA, USAJoseph MurrayBrigham and Women's Hospital
15 Mar 1920Edward Donnall Thomas was born in Mart, Texas, USAThomasFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
29 Oct 1920Baruj Benacerraf was born in Caracas, VenezuelaBenacerrafHarvard Medical School
21 May 1922Robert A Good was born in Crosby, Minnesota, USAGoodUniversity of Minnesota
1 Apr 1923Brigitte Askonas was born in Vienna, AustriaAskonasVienna
8 Oct 1927Cesar Milstein was born in Bahia Blanca, ArgentinaMilsteinLaboratory of Molecular Biology
1929First molecular marker, antigen, identified on a tumour, laying foundation for use of antibodies to diagnose and treat cancerWitebsky University of Heidelberg
1929Jackson Memorial Laboratories established to develop inbred strains of mice to study the genetics of cancer and other diseasesJackson Memorial Laboratoroies
April 1929Autopsies carried out on tuberculosis patients show them less likely to have contracted cancerPearlJohns Hopkins University
1 Jul 1929Gerald M Edelman was born in New York NY, USAEdelmanRockefeller University
April 1931Jacques F.A.P. Miller was born in Nice, FranceMillerWalter and Eliza Hall Institute
4 Dec 1935Charles R Richet diedRichetSorbonne University
23 Mar 1937Norman Klinman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USAKlinmanWistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania
6 Sep 1939Susumu Tonegawa was born in Nagoya, JapanTonegawaMassachusetts Institute of Technology
1940The first cogenic line of inbred mouse strains were developed, which helped determine the major histocompatibility complex, a set of genes that code for proteins found on the surfaces of cells which help the immune system recognise foreign substances. SnellJackson Laboratory
1940Inbred strains of mice bred at Jackson Memorial Laboratory showed that resistance to transplanted tumours were due to body's resistance to genetically different tissueBarrettJackson Memorial Laboratoroies
15 Oct 1940Peter C Doherty was born in Brisbane, AustraliaDoherty St Jude Children's Research Hospital
26 Jun 1943Karl Landsteiner diedLandsteinerRockefeller Institute
6 Jan 1944Rolf M Zinkernagel was born in Basel, SwitzerlandZinkernagelUniversity of Zurich
27 Feb 1945Herman Waldmann was born in United KingdomWaldmannUnited Kingdom
1960Bone marrow transplants being undermined by immunological reactions (especially graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD))ThomasBassett Medical Center
6 Apr 1961Jules Bordet diedBordetPasteur Institute
1968First successful bone marrow transplant from a siblingGoodMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
8 Feb 1974Immune surveillance theory that immune system provides protection against cancer discredited by research showing that 'Nude' mice lacking immune system function no more likely to develop tumours than normal miceStutmanMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
February 1975Natural killer cell identified in mice and shown to be important part of immune systemKiessling, Klein, Pross, WigzellKarolinska Institute
15 Apr 1975Human natural killer cell isolatedJondal, ProssKarolinska Institute
24 Apr 1975Discovery of unique molecular marker, idiotype, on blood cancer cells, opening new avenue for cancer diagnosis and therapyStevensonTenovus Research Laboratory
September 1975Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) was discovered. It was the first immune molecule shown to kill cancer cellsCarswell, Old, Kassel, S.Green, Fiore, WilliamsonMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
10 Sep 1976Discovery of first T cell growth factor, later named Interleukin-2 (IL-2)Morgan, Ruscetti, GalloLitton Bioethics Research Laboratories, National Cancer Institute
1977 - 1978Cytolytic T cells shown to recognise multiple subtypes of viruses, including influenza virusesMcMichael, Ting, Zweerink, AskonasNational Institute for Medical Research
February 1977Scientists find a way to generate T cells in thymic tissue in test tubes, paving the way study mechanisms underlying the regulation of T cell developmentRobinson, OwenUniversity of Newcastle upon Tyne
25 Mar 1977Discovery of Granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). This plays an important role in the immune system and the process of inflammation. Burghess, Camakaris, MetcalfWalter and Eliza Hall Institute
1 Apr 1977Development of first anti-idiotype antibodies. These are shown to activate immune defense cells to attack tumour cells in guinea-pigsStevenson, ElliottTenovus Research Laboratory
1979The first tumour suppressor gene was discovered, known as p53Crawford, Lane, Deleo, Old, Levine 
June 1982Steven Rosenberg and colleagues first describe lymphokine-activated killer cellsGrimm, Mazumder, Zhang, RosenbergNational Cancer Institute
November 1982James Allison and collegues use monoclonal antibody to provide first biochemical description of tumour specific antigen of murine T-lymphomaAllison, McIntyre, BlochUniversity of Texas System Cancer Center
1 Dec 1982First molecular markers, antigens, identified in melanoma tumours. These markers are now targeted by cancer drugsHoughton, Eisinger, Albino, Cairncross, OldMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
1983Link drawn between immune deficiency and cancer Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
10 Feb 1983Discovery of mouse strain with severe combined immune deficiency, providing valuable research model for investigating diseases like cancer and HIVBosma, CusterFox Chase Cancer Center
24 Mar 1983First cloning of Interleukin 2 (Il-2)Taniguchi, Matsui, Fujita, Takaoka, Kashmina, Yoshimoto, HamuroJapanese Foundation for Cancer Research, Ajinomoto Co Inc
November 1983A team of researchers including Philippa Marrack, John Kappler and James P Allison identified the first T cell antigen receptorKappler, Kubo, Haskins, Hannum, Marrack, Pigeon, McIntyre, Allison, TrowbridgeUniversity of Colorado, University of Texas System Cancer Center, National Jewish Hospital and Research Cener, Salk Institute
16 Dec 1983New method published for measuring antigen-specific T cell responses enabling clinical trial immune monitoringCzerkinsky, Nilsson, Nygren, Ouchterlony, TarkowskiUniversity of Goteborg
June 1984First clinical experiments demonstrate the possibility of training T cells to attack tumoursKnuth, Danowski, Oettgen, OldMemorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
1985T cell surface proteins CD4 and CD8 cloned Maddon, Littman, Godfrey, Maddon Chess, AxelColumbia University
31 Aug 1985Frank Macfarlane Burnet diedBurnetWalter and Eliza Hall Institute
December 1985IL-2 based immunotherapy shown to reduce tumours in patients with melanoma and renal cell cancerRosenbergNational Cancer Institute
December 1986Anti-tumour responses observed in 3 out of 10 patients given high-doses of Interleukin-2 (IL-2) Rosenberg, Lotze, Chang, Seipp, Simpson, VettoNational Cancer Institute
1987 - 1989Scientists lay the foundation for the cloning of human tumour antigens recognised by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that kills cancer cellsDe Plaen, BoonLudwig Institute for Cancer Research
15 Mar 1987First stable human anti-tumour cytotoxic T cell clones isolated and maintained in cultureHerin, Lemoine, Weynants, Vessiere, Van Pel, Knuth, Devos, BoonLudwig Institute
April 1987CD8 coreceptor proven to be actively involved in antigen recognition by killer T cellsDembic, Haas, Zamoyska, Parnes, Steinmetz, von BoehmerBasel Institute of Immunology
1987 - 1988Mice experiments showed T cells to be double-edged sword in clearing persistent infections with respiratory syncytial virusCannon, Stott, Taylor, Askonas, OpenshawNational Institute for Medical Research
July 1987Identification of the cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4)Brunet, Denizot, Luciani, Roux-Dosseto, Suzan, Mattei, GolsteinINSERM-CNRS
2 Oct 1987Peter Medawar diedMedawarUniversity College London
November 1987First evidence provided for the interaction between the surface molecule CD4 and major histocompatibility class IIDoyle, StromingerHarvard University
May 1988 - Oct 1989Cytotoxic T lymphocytes shown to recognise distinct surface markers on human melanomaWolfel, Knuth, Degiovanni, Van den Eynde, Hainaut, BoonLudwig Institute for Cancer Research
July 1988Biochemical initiators of T Cell activitation, CD4 and CD8-p56, discoveredRudd, Trevillyan, Dasupta, Wong, SchlossmanDana-Faber Cancer Institute, Harvard University, Tech University
1988 - 1989First evidence discovered of a physical link between oncoproteins and tumour suppressors 
December 1988Scientists report cloning the gene for the human cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen (CTLA-4)Dariavach, Mattei, Golstein, LefrancINSERM-CNRS
February 1989Scientists demonstrate the importance of CD28, a cell surface molecule found on T-cells, for the activation and survival of T cellsThompson, Lindsten, Ledbetter, Kunkel, Young, Emerson, Leiden, JuneHoward Hughes Medical Institute
September 1989Giorgio Trinchieri and colleagues identified interleukin-12 (IL-12), a cytokine that helps regulate the body’s resistance to infections and cancerKobayashi, Fitz, Ryan, Hewick, Clark, Chan, Loudon, Sherman, Perussia, TrinchieriWistar Institute
December 1989First use of genetically engineered T cells to redirect T cells to recognise and attack tumour cellsGross, Waks, EshharWeizmann Institute
1990US FDA approved BCG, a bacterial vaccine against tuberculosis, to treat early stage bladder cancer. It was the first FDA approved immunotherapyHerr, OettgenMemorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center
25 Jun 1991Michael Heidelberger died in New York City, USAHeidelbergerRockefeller Institute, Columbia University
15 Apr 1993Immune molecule, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor or GM-CSF, discovered to strengthen immunity against tumours Dranoff, Jaffee, Lazenby, Golumbek, Levitsky, Brose, Jackson, Hamada, Pardoll, MulliganMassachusetts Institute of Technology
1994 - 1995Identification and characterisation of the natural killer T cell, a lymphocyte able to bind and kill certain tumour and virus-infected cellsBendelacUniversity of Chicago
7 Oct 1994Niels Kaj Jerne diedJerneBasel Institute for Immunology
1 Aug 1995Identification of regulatory T cells (CD4+CD25+) and their role in protecting against autoimmunity 
22 Mar 1996Mice experiments published demonstrating that blocking the CTLA-4 molecule on immune cells can cure cancerLeach, Krummel, AllisonUniversity of California Berkeley
6 Jun 1996George D Snell diedSnellJackson Laboratory
November 1996Experiments demostrate antigen-specific CD4+ and T cells become tolerant during tumour growth in test tubes 
2000First clinical trials launched to test first immune checkpoint inhibitor drug containing a monoclonal antibody against CTLA-4 (ipilimumab, Yervoy®)AllisonMedarex, University of California Berkley
March 2001Mechanism uncovered for the way the immune system generates regulatory T-cellsJordanWistar Institute
March 2002Cesar Milstein diedMilsteinLaboratory of Molecular Biology
14 Sep 2002Regulatory T cells discovered to restrain cytolytic T cells attacking cancer via messanger chemical called TGF-betaHerlyn, SomasundaramWistar Institute
2003Genetic switch identified that controls the development of T cells, an important immune cell that controls against autoimmunity and excess inflammationFontenot, Gavin, RudenskyHoward Hughes Medical Institute, University of Washington
13 Jun 2003Robert A Good diedGoodUniversity of Minnesota
5 Jan 2004Merrill W Chase diedChaseRockefeller University
6 Jun 2009Jean Dausset diedDaussetUniversity of Paris
4 May 2010Norman Klinman died in San Diego, California, USAKlinmanWistar Institute, University of Pennsylvania
2 Aug 2011Baruj Benacerraf diedBenacerrafHarvard Medical School
20 Oct 2012E Donnall Thomas diedThomasFred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center
26 Nov 2012Joseph Murray diedJoseph MurrayBrigham and Women's Hospital
4 Apr 2014British NICE recommends alemtuzumab as cost effective MS treatmentCompston, Coles, Waldmann, WinterCambridge University, Sanofi
17 May 2014Gerald M Edelman diedEdelmanRockefeller University
25 Mar 2016Common tags discovered on the surface of cancer cells opening up new avenues for immunotherapyMcGranahan, Furness, Rosenthal, Ramskov, Lyngaa, Saini, Jamal-Hanjani, Wilson, Birkbak, Hiley, Watkins, Shafi, Murugaesu, Mitter, Akarca, Linares, Marafioti, Henry, Van Allen, Miao, Schilling, Schadendorf, Garraway, Makarov, Rizvi,m Snyder, Hellman, MerghUniversity College London, Cancer Research UK, Francis Crick Insitute, Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Broad Institute, University Duisburg-Essen, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Columbia Univertsity, Weill Cornell Medical College, Harvard Medical S
15 Apr 2016Gene editing used to prompt immune cells to combat cancerQuezada, Johnson, Menger, Sledzinska, Bergerhoff, Vargas, Smith, Poirot, Pule, Hererro, PeggsUniversity College London, Cancer Research UK, Cellectis
August 2016Marker identified for myeloid-derived suppressor cells, a type of cell associated with tumour resistance to certain cancer treatmentsWistar Institute

17 May 1749

Edward Jenner was born in Berkeley, United Kingdom

26 Jan 1823

Edward Jenner died

16 May 1845

Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov was born in Kharkov (now Kharkiv), Russian Empire (now Ukraine)

26 Aug 1850

Charles R Richet was born in Paris, France

14 Mar 1854

Paul Ehrlich was born in Strehlen (now Strzelin), Prussia (now Poland)

14 Jun 1868

Karl Landsteiner was born in Vienna, Austria

13 Jun 1870

Jules Bordet was born in Soignies, Belgium

29 Apr 1888

Michael Heidelberger was born in New York City, USA

1895

Humans treated with antiserum prepared against human cancer. This established the principle of using serotherapy to fight cancer

1899

First commercial vaccine developed for treatment of sarcoma

3 Sep 1899

Frank Macfarlane Burnet born in Traralgon, Victoria, Australia

1902

First attempt to vaccinate against cancer with a patient's own tumour tissue

4 Mar 1903

William Clouser Boyd was born in Dearborn, Missouri, USA

19 Dec 1903

George D Snell was born in Bradford MA, USA

17 Sep 1905

Merrill W Chase born in Providence, RI, USA

1911

Research provided the first evidence that virus transmits cancer in chickens

23 Dec 1911

Niels K Jerne was born in London, United Kingdom

1914

Experiments by James B Murphy demonstrate that lymphocytes help animals reject grafted tumours

1915

James B Murphy puts forward hypothesis that the nonspecific stimulation of lymphocytes could provide a cure for cancer based on experiments he and John J Morton carried out on mice

28 Feb 1915

Peter Brian Medawar was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

20 Aug 1915

Paul Ehrlich died

1916 - 1922

Disappointing results reported from clinical trials treating breast cancer patients with low doses of X-ray radiation following tumour removal, discrediting the theory that stimulation of lymphocytes could help cure cancer.

15 Jul 1916

Ilya Ilyich Mechnikov died

19 Oct 1916

Jean Dausset was born in Toulouse, France

1 Apr 1919

Joseph Murray was born in Milford MA, USA

15 Mar 1920

Edward Donnall Thomas was born in Mart, Texas, USA

29 Oct 1920

Baruj Benacerraf was born in Caracas, Venezuela

21 May 1922

Robert A Good was born in Crosby, Minnesota, USA

1 Apr 1923

Brigitte Askonas was born in Vienna, Austria

8 Oct 1927

Cesar Milstein was born in Bahia Blanca, Argentina

1929

First molecular marker, antigen, identified on a tumour, laying foundation for use of antibodies to diagnose and treat cancer

1929

Jackson Memorial Laboratories established to develop inbred strains of mice to study the genetics of cancer and other diseases

Apr 1929

Autopsies carried out on tuberculosis patients show them less likely to have contracted cancer

1 Jul 1929

Gerald M Edelman was born in New York NY, USA

Apr 1931

Jacques F.A.P. Miller was born in Nice, France

4 Dec 1935

Charles R Richet died

23 Mar 1937

Norman Klinman was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA

6 Sep 1939

Susumu Tonegawa was born in Nagoya, Japan

1940

The first cogenic line of inbred mouse strains were developed, which helped determine the major histocompatibility complex, a set of genes that code for proteins found on the surfaces of cells which help the immune system recognise foreign substances.

1940

Inbred strains of mice bred at Jackson Memorial Laboratory showed that resistance to transplanted tumours were due to body's resistance to genetically different tissue

15 Oct 1940

Peter C Doherty was born in Brisbane, Australia

26 Jun 1943

Karl Landsteiner died

6 Jan 1944

Rolf M Zinkernagel was born in Basel, Switzerland

27 Feb 1945

Herman Waldmann was born in United Kingdom

1960

Bone marrow transplants being undermined by immunological reactions (especially graft-versus-host-disease (GvHD))

6 Apr 1961

Jules Bordet died

1968

First successful bone marrow transplant from a sibling

8 Feb 1974

Immune surveillance theory that immune system provides protection against cancer discredited by research showing that 'Nude' mice lacking immune system function no more likely to develop tumours than normal mice

Feb 1975

Natural killer cell identified in mice and shown to be important part of immune system

15 Apr 1975

Human natural killer cell isolated

24 Apr 1975

Discovery of unique molecular marker, idiotype, on blood cancer cells, opening new avenue for cancer diagnosis and therapy

Sep 1975

Tumour necrosis factor (TNF) was discovered. It was the first immune molecule shown to kill cancer cells

10 Sep 1976

Discovery of first T cell growth factor, later named Interleukin-2 (IL-2)

1977 - 1978

Cytolytic T cells shown to recognise multiple subtypes of viruses, including influenza viruses

Feb 1977

Scientists find a way to generate T cells in thymic tissue in test tubes, paving the way study mechanisms underlying the regulation of T cell development

25 Mar 1977

Discovery of Granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor (GM-CSF). This plays an important role in the immune system and the process of inflammation.

1 Apr 1977

Development of first anti-idiotype antibodies. These are shown to activate immune defense cells to attack tumour cells in guinea-pigs

1979

The first tumour suppressor gene was discovered, known as p53

Jun 1982

Steven Rosenberg and colleagues first describe lymphokine-activated killer cells

Nov 1982

James Allison and collegues use monoclonal antibody to provide first biochemical description of tumour specific antigen of murine T-lymphoma

1 Dec 1982

First molecular markers, antigens, identified in melanoma tumours. These markers are now targeted by cancer drugs

1983

Link drawn between immune deficiency and cancer

10 Feb 1983

Discovery of mouse strain with severe combined immune deficiency, providing valuable research model for investigating diseases like cancer and HIV

24 Mar 1983

First cloning of Interleukin 2 (Il-2)

Nov 1983

A team of researchers including Philippa Marrack, John Kappler and James P Allison identified the first T cell antigen receptor

16 Dec 1983

New method published for measuring antigen-specific T cell responses enabling clinical trial immune monitoring

Jun 1984

First clinical experiments demonstrate the possibility of training T cells to attack tumours

1985

T cell surface proteins CD4 and CD8 cloned

31 Aug 1985

Frank Macfarlane Burnet died

Dec 1985

IL-2 based immunotherapy shown to reduce tumours in patients with melanoma and renal cell cancer

Dec 1986

Anti-tumour responses observed in 3 out of 10 patients given high-doses of Interleukin-2 (IL-2)

1987 - 1989

Scientists lay the foundation for the cloning of human tumour antigens recognised by cytotoxic T lymphocytes, a type of white blood cell that kills cancer cells

15 Mar 1987

First stable human anti-tumour cytotoxic T cell clones isolated and maintained in culture

Apr 1987

CD8 coreceptor proven to be actively involved in antigen recognition by killer T cells

1987 - 1988

Mice experiments showed T cells to be double-edged sword in clearing persistent infections with respiratory syncytial virus

Jul 1987

Identification of the cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen 4 (CTLA-4)

2 Oct 1987

Peter Medawar died

Nov 1987

First evidence provided for the interaction between the surface molecule CD4 and major histocompatibility class II

May 1988 - Oct 1989

Cytotoxic T lymphocytes shown to recognise distinct surface markers on human melanoma

Jul 1988

Biochemical initiators of T Cell activitation, CD4 and CD8-p56, discovered

1988 - 1989

First evidence discovered of a physical link between oncoproteins and tumour suppressors

Dec 1988

Scientists report cloning the gene for the human cytotoxic T lymphocyte-associated antigen (CTLA-4)

Feb 1989

Scientists demonstrate the importance of CD28, a cell surface molecule found on T-cells, for the activation and survival of T cells

Sep 1989

Giorgio Trinchieri and colleagues identified interleukin-12 (IL-12), a cytokine that helps regulate the body’s resistance to infections and cancer

Dec 1989

First use of genetically engineered T cells to redirect T cells to recognise and attack tumour cells

1990

US FDA approved BCG, a bacterial vaccine against tuberculosis, to treat early stage bladder cancer. It was the first FDA approved immunotherapy

25 Jun 1991

Michael Heidelberger died in New York City, USA

15 Apr 1993

Immune molecule, granulocyte-macrophage colony stimulating factor or GM-CSF, discovered to strengthen immunity against tumours

1994 - 1995

Identification and characterisation of the natural killer T cell, a lymphocyte able to bind and kill certain tumour and virus-infected cells

7 Oct 1994

Niels Kaj Jerne died

1 Aug 1995

Identification of regulatory T cells (CD4+CD25+) and their role in protecting against autoimmunity

22 Mar 1996

Mice experiments published demonstrating that blocking the CTLA-4 molecule on immune cells can cure cancer

6 Jun 1996

George D Snell died

Nov 1996

Experiments demostrate antigen-specific CD4+ and T cells become tolerant during tumour growth in test tubes

2000

First clinical trials launched to test first immune checkpoint inhibitor drug containing a monoclonal antibody against CTLA-4 (ipilimumab, Yervoy®)

Mar 2001

Mechanism uncovered for the way the immune system generates regulatory T-cells

Mar 2002

Cesar Milstein died

14 Sep 2002

Regulatory T cells discovered to restrain cytolytic T cells attacking cancer via messanger chemical called TGF-beta

2003

Genetic switch identified that controls the development of T cells, an important immune cell that controls against autoimmunity and excess inflammation

13 Jun 2003

Robert A Good died

5 Jan 2004

Merrill W Chase died

6 Jun 2009

Jean Dausset died

4 May 2010

Norman Klinman died in San Diego, California, USA

2 Aug 2011

Baruj Benacerraf died

20 Oct 2012

E Donnall Thomas died

26 Nov 2012

Joseph Murray died

4 Apr 2014

British NICE recommends alemtuzumab as cost effective MS treatment

17 May 2014

Gerald M Edelman died

25 Mar 2016

Common tags discovered on the surface of cancer cells opening up new avenues for immunotherapy

15 Apr 2016

Gene editing used to prompt immune cells to combat cancer

Aug 2016

Marker identified for myeloid-derived suppressor cells, a type of cell associated with tumour resistance to certain cancer treatments