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2010 Lasker Awards Honor Trailblazers in Medical Research and Clinical Care
Date:9/20/2010

(AMD), a leading cause of severe, irreversible vision loss in the elderly. These advances led to an anti-VEGF antibody therapy that for the first time can significantly improve the sight of people with this illness, and reduce the risk of further vision loss. Upwards of a million AMD patients worldwide have already received the therapy and scores more will likely benefit in the coming decades, as the world's population ages.

Ferrara's journey to unlocking the lynchpin for one of the body's most important physiological processes and creating a novel approach to combating AMD began in the early 1980s with his study of cells linked to blood-vessel development. At Genentech in 1989, Ferrara discovered a substance in humans that spurs growth of vascular endothelial cells and began to investigate whether quelling what he dubbed "VEGF" could thwart troublesome blood vessel formation. Ferrara subsequently proved that shutting down VEGF receptors could stem blood vessel formation and went on to develop an antibody to neutralize human VEGF, which choked off the flow of blood, helping stem tumor growth. This led to the creation, in 2000, of an anti-VEGF treatment that slows blood vessel formation in the eye, retards vision loss and improves sight in many patients.

Weatherall Lauded for Scientific Statesmanship and Discoveries Tied to Blood Diseases Afflicting the World's Poor

The 2010 Lasker~Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Research honors physician-scientist David J. Weatherall, 77, for merging astute, compassionate patient care with relentless scientific investigation that over five decades led to countless advances in the diagnosis and treatment of genetic blood disorders, especially thalassemia, an inherited form of anemia which predominantly affects children living in the world's poorest nations. Weatherall made global health a priority long before it was in vogue, and inspired generations of young physicians and researchers to app
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SOURCE The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation
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