Professor Tadamitsu Kishimoto is a world-renowned immunologist who was born in 1939 Osaka, Japan. After graduating from Osaka University Medical School in 1964, he completed a one-year internship at Osaka University Hospital, followed by Ph.D. studies in medicine from 1965 to 1969. Between 1970 and 1974, he pursued post-doctoral research in the Department of Medicine at Johns Hopkins Medical School, working under Professor Kimishige Ishizaka, the discoverer of IgE. He returned to Osaka University Medical School in 1974 as assistant professor of medicine and progressed rapidly through his academic and research career becoming professor in 1979. He has served as dean and chairman of the Department of Medicine at Osaka University and was the university’s president from 1997-2003 and a Member of the Council for Science and Technology Policy from 2004 to 2006. Currently, he is professor of Immunology at the Immunology Frontier Research Center in Osaka University.
Professor Kishimoto has made seminal contributions to our understanding of cytokine functions in general and interleukin-6 (IL-6) in particular. He discovered and cloned IL-6, elucidated its functions, its signaling pathway, receptor system and transcription factors. He then went on to develop a humanized anti-IL6 receptor antibody therapy (ACTEMRA, Tocilizumab) that has proven to be highly successful in the treatment of several immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, Castleman’s disease, juvenile idiopathic arthritis and other autoimmune inflammatory disorders. Kishimoto’s work has been of paramount importance in the field of pro-inflammatory cytokines and has established paradigms for the study of cytokine biology. His studies on IL-6, which spanned around forty years, have been highly regarded, ranking him among the world’s most cited researchers. He has published around 620 papers and nearly 140 review articles.
Professor Kishimoto has received numerous prestigious awards and honors, including the Imperial Prize of the Japan Academy (1992), the Sandoz Prize for Immunology of the International Union of Immunological Society (1992), the Avery-Landsteiner Prize of the German Society for Immunology (1996), ISI Citation Laureate Award (2000), Honorary Doctorate Degree from the Universidad Tecnologica de Santiago, UTESA, (2001), Honorary Professorship at the Fourth Military Medical College, Xian, China (2002), Honorary Doctor of Science from Mahidol University (2003), Robert Koch Gold Medal (2003), Distinguished Professorship of Medicine and Immunology, University California, Davis (2004), Honorary Life Time Achievements Award from the International Cytokine Society (2006), the Crafoord Prize from the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences (2009) and the Japan Prize (2011). He was awarded the Order of Culture from the Emperor of Japan in (1998) and Royal Decoration from the Kingdom of Thailand in 2012. He was also elected as a Foreign Associate of the US National Academy of Sciences (1991), Member of the Japan Academy (1995) and Member of the Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher Leopoldina (2005). In addition, has been President of the International Immunopharmacology Society, the International Cytokine Society and the Japanese Society for Immunology. He is also Honorary Member of the American Association of Immunologists and the American Society of Hematology. He is involved in several professional activities including being former President of the 14th International Congress for the Society of Immunology. He is also an editor or member of the editorial board of several international journals in his fields of specialization and selection committee member for a number of international prizes.
The King Faisal International Prize for Medicine for this year 2017, Topic: (Biologic Therapeutics In Autoimmune Diseases), has been awarded to Professor Tadamitsu Kishimoto in recognition of his prominent role in developing a novel biologic therapy for autoimmune diseases.
Professor Kishimoto, through his work for more than 30 years, is responsible for discovering interleukin-6 (IL-6), its receptor and signaling pathways. He established the physiological function of the interleukin-6 (IL-6) pathway and its role in inflammatory/autoimmune diseases.
Subsequently, he developed an interleukin-6 (IL-6) receptor-blocking antibody into a biological therapy, leading the clinical development of this therapy towards first approval for the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.