On the evening of Oct. 1, Dr. Tasuku Honjo was in his office at Kyoto University discussing a manuscript with two of his colleagues when a secretary came dashing in to announce there was a call from Sweden. Could he take it?

Shortly afterward, details of that call would make news around the world: Honjo, 76, along with Dr. James Allison, 70, of the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, were jointly awarded the 2018 Nobel for Physiology or Medicine for their pioneering work in immunology — work that has helped pave the way for a new generation of cancer treatment and drugs.

In a recent interview in the same office where he took the Nobel Assembly's call, Honjo admitted his surprise — it's not every day one is informed of a Nobel Prize win — but he was also skeptical, for the same reasons.