2010 Lasker Awards Honour Trailblazers in Medical Research and Clinical Care

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation, which for 65 years has championed the greatest advances in medical research, has announced the winners of the 2010 Lasker Awards: Douglas Coleman and Jeffrey M. Friedman for basic medical research, Napoleone Ferrara for clinical research and David J. Weatherall for special achievement. The three awards-recognized as the most prestigious medical research awards in the United States today-honour four visionaries whose insight and perseverance have led to dramatic advances that will prevent disease and prolong life.

The Lasker Awards, which carry an honorarium of $250,000 for each category, will be presented at a ceremony on Friday, October 1, at the Pierre Hotel in New York City. Since 1945, the Lasker Awards program has recognized the contributions of scientists, physicians, and public servants internationally who have made major advances in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of human disease.

Coleman of Jackson Laboratory in Bar Harbor, Maine and Friedman of Rockefeller University in New York City will receive the 2010 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for discovering leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and body weight, a finding that firmly established the tie between obesity and genetics.

Ferrara of South San Francisco-based Genentech will receive the 2010 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for the discovery of Vascular Endothelial Growth Factor (VEGF), a key to blood-vessel formation, which led to his creation of a treatment that restores sight to people blinded by the effects of wet age-related macular degeneration.

David Weatherall, the Regius Professor of Medicine Emeritus and retired Honorary Director of the Weatherall Institute of Molecular Medicine at the University of Oxford, will receive the 2010 Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Research for five decades of statesmanship in biomedical sciences exemplified by his discoveries concerning genetic diseases of the blood and for leadership in improving clinical care throughout the world benefitting children afflicted with the genetic blood disorder thalassemia.

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