7 scientists win prestigious Lasker medical awards

September 10, 2012 by Malcolm Ritter

(AP)—Seven scientists have won prestigious medical awards for development of liver transplantation, discoveries about the inner workings of cells, and leadership in biomedical science.

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced the winners Monday. The prizes, worth $250,000 for each of three categories, will be presented in New York on Sept. 21.

The Lasker award for clinical medical research was shared by Dr. Thomas Starzl of the University of Pittsburgh and Dr. Roy Calne, an emeritus professor at Cambridge University, for developing liver transplantation.

Their work on the surgical procedure and treatment to prevent organ rejection was done initially in dogs. In 1960, Calne's dog experiments demonstrated for the first time that a drug could fend off organ rejection. Starzl attempted the first human liver transplant in 1963. That patient died during the procedure. The next several patients died within weeks of their surgeries, but they showed that transplanted livers could function.

Both men pursued further research, especially in blocking rejection. Liver transplantation finally gained acceptance in the 1980s, and it has "restored normal life to thousands of patients," the foundation said.

The award for basic medical research was shared by Michael Sheetz of Columbia University, James Spudich of Stanford University, and Ronald Vale of the University of California, San Francisco. They were honored for discoveries about the biological machines that make muscles contract and transport cargos within cells. Their work laid the foundation for research into treatments for conditions including cancer and a heart disorder that can kill young athletes, the foundation said.

The award for special achievement in medical science was shared by Donald Brown of the Carnegie Institution for Science in Baltimore and Tom Maniatis of Columbia University for "exceptional leadership and citizenship in biomedical science." Besides making key discoveries in genetics, both men have worked to help research by others. Maniatis co-wrote a manual on lab techniques, first published in 1982, that became widely used. Brown founded an organization that awards fellowships to young investigators and built an impressive biology research program at the Carnegie institution, the foundation said.

The Lasker foundation was established in 1942. Albert Lasker was an advertising executive who died in 1952. His wife, Mary, was a longtime champion of medical research before her death in 1994.

Explore further: Awards given for leukemia treatment, DNA advances

shares

Related Stories

Awards given for leukemia treatment, DNA advances

September 14, 2009

(AP) -- Five scientists have won prestigious research awards for developing a life-saving leukemia treatment and for advances in "reprogramming" DNA, which led to a new kind of stem cell.

Stem cell pioneers among Nobel Prize candidates

October 4, 2009

(AP) -- Two Canadian scientists whose discovery of stem cells has paved the way for controversial research could be candidates for the 2009 Nobel Prize in medicine, the winners of which will be announced Monday.

Prizes honor studies in vision loss, obesity

September 21, 2010

(AP) -- Three scientists have won prestigious medical prizes - one for devising a treatment for a major cause of vision loss and two for laying the groundwork for an explosion in obesity research.

Nobel winners pay tribute to deceased laureate

December 6, 2011

(AP) -- Two scientists who will collect this year's Nobel Prize in medicine praised late co-winner Ralph Steinman on Tuesday, saying he probably knew he was in line for the prestigious award.

Domingo wins Israel's Wolf Prize

May 13, 2012

Spanish tenor Placido Domingo and British conductor Sir Simon Rattle on Sunday were among the winners of Israel's prestigious Wolf Prize for artists and scientists.

Recommended for you

Basic research fuels advanced discovery

August 26, 2016

Clinical trials and translational medicine have certainly given people hope and rapid pathways to cures for some of mankind's most troublesome diseases, but now is not the time to overlook the power of basic research, says ...

New avenue for understanding cause of common diseases

August 25, 2016

A ground-breaking Auckland study could lead to discoveries about many common diseases such as diabetes, cancer and dementia. The new finding could also illuminate the broader role of the enigmatic mitochondria in human development.

New method creates endless supply of kidney precursor cells

August 25, 2016

Salk Institute scientists have discovered the holy grail of endless youthfulness—at least when it comes to one type of human kidney precursor cell. Previous attempts to maintain cultures of the so-called nephron progenitor ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.