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Discoverers of Small Regulatory RNAs and Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs to Receive Lasker Awards for Medical Research
Date:9/13/2008

Pioneer in Understanding Harmful Bacteria Honored with Special Achievement

Award

NEW YORK, Sept. 13 /PRNewswire/ -- The 2008 Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards (http://www.laskerfoundation.org) were announced today. First presented in 1946, the Lasker Awards are the nation's most distinguished honor for outstanding basic and clinical medical research discoveries and for lifetime contributions to medical science.

The Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research honors Victor R. Ambros, 54, of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, Worcester, David C. Baulcombe, 56, of the University of Cambridge, and Gary B. Ruvkun, 56, of Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston and Harvard Medical School, who discovered tiny RNAs that regulate gene function. These RNAs, some of which are known as microRNAs, govern a multitude of activities in animals and plants, and they have been implicated in a wide range of diseases.

The Lasker-DeBakey Award for Clinical Medical Research honors Akira Endo, 74, of Biopharm Research Laboratories, Inc., Tokyo, who discovered the first statin. Statins significantly lower LDL-cholesterol quantities in the blood, thus dramatically reducing the risk of coronary heart disease, a leading cause of death worldwide and the number one killer in the U.S. Statins are now the most widely prescribed medications in the United States, and benefit an estimated 30 million people worldwide.

The Lasker-Koshland Award for Special Achievement in Medical Science, awarded biennially, honors Stanley Falkow, 74, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, for his many contributions to our knowledge of disease-causing microbes. Falkow's discoveries have shed light on how bacteria transmit antibiotic resistance and other traits to one another and revealed the means by which they infect animal hosts and elicit illness. He pioneered the field
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SOURCE The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation
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