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American Cancer Society-Funded Researchers Win Lasker Award

An American Cancer Society Research Professor and a former Society grantee are among 5 scientists being honored for major advancements in the understanding, diagnosis, treatment, cure, and prevention of human disease. The winners were announced today by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation.

American Cancer Society-Walt Disney Family Foundation Professor for Breast Cancer Research Mary-Claire King, PhD won the Lasker-Koshland Special Achievement Award in Medical Science for “bold, imaginative, and diverse contributions to medical science and human rights.” She discovered the genetic BRCA1 mutation in 1990. Women with this mutation are at a much higher risk of developing breast cancer in their lifetime.

King and her colleagues worked for 20 years to discover the gene mutation. In 1994, the American Cancer Society began supporting her continued work in genetics through an endowment by the Walt Disney family. Her ongoing work is focused on uncovering other mutations in known breast cancer genes.

Former Society grantee Peter Walter, PhD, was honored with the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for his work in deciphering how proteins fold as part of the cell’s normal function. Misfolded proteins appear in some inherited diseases, and decoding this function could help better understand – and perhaps treat – these diseases in future.

The Society supported Walter’s work in 1994.