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September 21, 2005

The Lasker Awards: Celebrating Scientific Discovery

Author Affiliations

Author Affiliation: Departments of Medicine and Pharmacology, University of Western Australia, Crawley.

JAMA. 2005;294(11):1420-1421. doi:10.1001/jama.294.11.1420

In 1995, the Lasker award I received for clinical medicine helped push Helicobacter pylori across the threshold of global acceptance as the stomach bacterium that causes ulcers and possibly stomach cancer. The most respected scientific award from a US foundation served to drive home the message that the time had come to treat patients with ulcers with antibiotics. Within 2 years of the Lasker award, physicians in developed countries were handed the tools to accomplish the task of curing chronic peptic ulcers. Effective treatments were fast-tracked by the US Food and Drug Administration and new diagnostic tests moved ulcer treatment into the domain of primary care physicians. Ten years later, peptic ulcers are far less common, freeing up billions of health care dollars.

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