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It was Christmas Eve 1994, and James P. Allison was testing his theory that T cells, a type of white blood cell that fights viral and bacterial infections, could help the immune system fight cancer. That week, he was covering for a postdoc aide on a European trip, who’d injected cancerous mice with an antibody to activate T cells to go after tumors. The results were stunning: All of those given the antibody became cancer-free, while the mice not provided with the antibody saw their tumors grow until they eventually died.

Allison ran back the experiment. But this time, the cancer didn’t respond. Allison grew frustrated. “I was being told, ‘You’re just foolish, this is never gonna work,’ ” he said in an interview with The Washington Post. “That was one that really pissed me off.”

But when he returned four days later to check on his furry subjects, the tumors in the mice injected with the antibody had totally disappeared. “I went, ‘Wow,’ ” said Allison, 70. “That was a real turning point. I said, ‘Okay, we’re onto something here.’ I never expected that to happen. I did have a notion that if we could figure that out, then we might have a shot at cancer.”

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Scientists like Jim Allison and Barbara McClintock faced harsh criticism for their discoveries. Independently, they both later won the Nobel Prize.

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Click the link below for the article:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/03/25/texas-scientist-was-called-foolish-arguing-immune-system-could-fight-cancer-then-he-won-nobel-prize/?utm_term=.6e37ca3a8a56

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