The New York City-based Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation has announced the winners of the 2010 Lasker Awards, one of the most coveted honors in medical science.
This year's winners are Douglas Coleman of the Jackson Laboratory and Jeffrey M. Friedman of Rockefeller University, who were awarded the Basic Medical Research Award for discovering leptin, a hormone that regulates appetite and body weight, and firmly establishing the tie between obesity and genetics; Napoleone Ferrara of Genentech, who received the Clinical Medical Research Award for the discovery of the vascular endothelial growth factor, a key to blood vessel formation that led to Ferrara's creation of a treatment that restores sight to people blinded by the effects of age-related macular degeneration; and David J. Weatherall, who was awarded the 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 around the world for children afflicted with the genetic blood disorder thalassemia. The awards include an honorarium of $250,000 in each category.
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.
"The 2010 Lasker Awards dramatically illustrate how the connection between innovative genetic and molecular research fosters bold advances that improve the health of people globally," said Lasker Foundation president Maria Freire. "It's with great pride that the Lasker Foundation marks its sixty-fifth anniversary by recognizing these four laureates whose courage and dedication exemplify all that our organization seeks to honor. They unlocked medical mysteries that are leading to successful new treatments for some of the world's most perplexing diseases."