Author Affiliation: Chancellor, Arthur and
Toni Rembe Rock Distinguished Professor, University of California, San Francisco.
I learned of my Lasker Award from a hand-written note, left on my desk
one spring morning in 1982. A member of the awards jury had called from New
York City in my absence, with clandestine news. My colleague Harold Varmus
and I would share the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award with 3 other scientists
for fundamental contributions to what was then known as the “war on
My initial reaction was a sense of authentication. There had been considerable
skepticism about the significance of the work that we were overseeing. Had
we indeed uncovered a universal root of cancer? Had the case been overstated,
or worse yet, had we been fooled by some treachery in our technology? The
Lasker imprimatur was likely to put any remaining doubt to rest. It certainly
emboldened me in the months and years to come.
Bishop JM. Mary Lasker and Her PrizesAn Appreciation. JAMA. 2005;294(11):1418-1419. doi:10.1001/jama.294.11.1418