Innovative therapeutics

Dennis Slamon wins Lasker Award for innovative breast cancer treatment

Dennis Slamon

Dennis Slamon, a member of our Board of Directors at BioMarin, is among five scientists who won the prestigious 2019 Lasker Clinical Medical Research Award for developing the first antibody drug for HER2-positive breast cancer.

The $250,000 award will be shared with cancer researchers H. Michael Shepard and Axel Ullrich, who did research alongside Dennis. The team’s work, which began in the 1980s, started with identifying HER2 (a protein called human epidermal growth factor receptor 2), as a driver of breast cancer and showing that the treatment could treat some cases of the disease. After proving a link between the HER2 gene mutation and aggressive types of breast cancer, the drug was approved in 1998. It has since then proven to be an innovative treatment. An estimated 2.7 to 3 million women have been treated with the drug around the world.

The Lasker Foundation’s mission is to improve health by providing support for medical research through recognition of research excellence, education, and advocacy. Mary Woodard Lasker (1901-1994) was a champion of medical research alongside her husband Albert Davis Lasker (1880-1952), an advertising executive. Together, they established a legacy of philanthropy in support of science and health.

The Lasker Foundation says the three scientists “conceived and executed a new blueprint for drug discovery that has already bestowed tens of thousands of women with time and quality of life.”

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