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October 4, 1995

The Lasker Awards at Fifty

Author Affiliations

From the Baylor College of Medicine (Dr DeBakey) and Department of Clinical Immunology and Biological Therapy, University of Texas, M. D. Anderson Cancer Center (Dr Gutterman), Houston. Dr DeBakey is chairman of the Albert Lasker Research Awards Jury, and Dr Gutterman is director of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards Program.

JAMA. 1995;274(13):1061. doi:10.1001/jama.1995.03530130067031

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Albert Lasker Medical Research Awards, presented by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation. Created to recognize outstanding contributions to the medical sciences, the Lasker Awards ceremony is an auspicious occasion in the career of every honoree awarded the Winged Victory statuette. In the keen vision of Mary Lasker, however, the prestige of winning was subordinated to her principal goal—fostering support for biomedical research.

By establishing separate awards for basic research, clinical research, and public service, Mary Lasker sought to emphasize the social foundations of science, reasoning that the public, once aware of the benefits of medical research, would willingly and generously provide its financial support.

Among the world's honors for research accomplishment, the Lasker Awards are the embodiment of the peer-review process. Juries charged with choosing the winners comprise preeminent scientists, many of whom have themselves received the Lasker Award and the

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