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September 7, 2017

Lasker Foundation announces winners of 2017 awards

Daily Briefing

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has announced the winners of the 2017 Lasker Awards for clinical medical research, basic medical research, and public service.

The awards—one of the world's most prestigious prizes in medicine, according to the Washington Post's "To Your Health"—recognize the achievements of clinicians, scientists, and public servants who have made significant advances in the understanding, diagnosis, prevention, treatment, or cure of human disease. According to the New York Times, the awards have been called the "American Nobels" because 87 honorees have gone on to earn the international award.

Each of the Lasker awards includes a $250,000 prize. This year's honorees are scheduled to receive their awards in New York City on Sept. 15.

A look at the award winners

  • The Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award will be shared by the National Cancer Institute's Douglas Lowy and John Schiller, whose research helped create the vaccines for the human papillomavirus (HPV).  According to the foundation, Lowry and Schiller developed a vaccine blueprint that was used in two FDA-approved two vaccines—Gardasil and Cervarix—that "promise to slash the incidence of cervical cancer and mortality, the fourth most common cancer among women worldwide, as well as other malignancies and disorders that arise from [HPV]."

  • The Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award will go to Michael Hall of the Biozentrum of the University of Basel in Switzerland for his "discoveries concerning the nutrient-activated TOR proteins and their central role in the metabolic control of cell growth," the foundation said. According to the New York Times, research has shown TOR proteins play a role in life span, as well as diseases such as diabetes and cancer.

  • The Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award will go to Planned Parenthood "for providing essential health services and reproductive care to millions of women for more than a century," according to the foundation. The foundation noted that Planned Parenthood assisted 2.4 million people in 2015, and that around one in five women in the United States have been helped by the not-for-profit organization at some point during their lifetimes (Murphy, New York Times, 9/6; McGinley, Washington Post, 9/6; Ritter, Sacramento Bee, 9/6; Lasker Foundation award page, accessed 9/6).

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