2017 Lasker Awards honor HPV vaccine developers, Planned Parenthood, and TOR protein discovery

The Lasker Awards are one of the most prestigious awards in medicine and are often referred to as “the American Nobels.” They recognize researchers, clinicians, and public servants for their contributions in diagnosing and curing human disease. The winners of the award for this year were recently announced :   

  • Planned Parenthood has been honored with the 2017 Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award for “providing essential health services and reproductive care to millions of women for more than a century.” The health care provider has been braving threats about the downsizing of its federal funding, so the recognition this award brings might help Planned Parenthood make a case for itself.
  • Douglas R. Lowy and John T. Schiller have been honored with the 2017 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award (both from the National Cancer Institute) for “technological advances that enabled development of HPV vaccines for prevention of cervical cancer and other tumors caused by human papillomaviruses.” The pair has worked together for several years to develop human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. According to NIH, “This award reinforces the critical importance of basic research in the development of medical breakthroughs like the HPV vaccine.”
  • Michael N. Hall (Biozentrum, University of Basel) has been honored with the 2017 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for “discoveries concerning the nutrient-activated TOR proteins and their central role in the metabolic control of cell growth.” Hall’s research led him to identify a key element in cell growth that is responsible for the development of diseases such as cancer and diabetes. “I am extraordinarily pleased and deeply grateful that the Lasker Foundation has honored our fundamental research with this award,” said Michael Hall.

There is a lot of hum around the Lasker Awards because, remarkably, about 85 recipients of the Lasker Awards have gone on to becoming Nobel Laureates. The award that is passed out annually comes with a $250,000 prize. The winners will formally receive their prizes at a ceremony on 15 September in Fresh York City.

Congratulations to all the winners!

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