This year’s prestigious Lasker Awards include scientists who have used animals as part of their research into cancer and eye diseases.
The Special Achievement Award went to Piet Borst at EARA member the Netherlands Cancer Institute, for his pioneering work in several fields of cancer research, including cancer drug resistance and how parasites invade the immune system – see video.
Among Professor Borst’s achievements – involving research using animals such as chickens, guinea pigs and rabbits – was the greater understanding of mitochondria cells, and the development of the first mouse model that allows the study of how cancer cells, for example in breast cancer, resist chemotherapy.
Meanwhile, James G. Fujimoto and Eric A. Swanson, at Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and David Huang, at Oregon Health & Science University, all USA, were awarded the Clinical Medical Research Award for their development of optical coherence tomography (OCT), which uses light beams to look into the retina of the eye to treat retinal diseases that can impair vision.
OCT has revolutionised the treatment and diagnosis of these diseases for both people and animals, and its development was supported by tests in monkeys and rabbits.