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American Nobel: Screen Women for Cancer-Causing Genetic Mutations

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FILE - Dr. Mary-Claire King, one of this year's five winners of the so-called ‘American Nobels’ in medicine, says every woman over the age of 30 needs to be tested for cancer-causing genetic mutations.

FILE - Dr. Mary-Claire King, one of this year's five winners of the so-called ‘American Nobels’ in medicine, says every woman over the age of 30 needs to be tested for cancer-causing genetic mutations.

One of this year's five winners of the so-called ‘American Nobels’ in medicine says every woman over the age of 30 needs to be tested for cancer-causing genetic mutations.

The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation’s Award for Special Achievement will go to Dr. Mary-Claire King, who correlated mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes with breast and ovarian cancer.

Current guidelines discourage testing, but King says it would cost little and identify 250,000 to 400,000 American women with the cancer-causing genetic mutations.

The Lasker awards each include a $250,000 honorarium and are to be presented in New York September 19.

The Journal of the American Medical Association summarized King’s proposal in an article published to coincide with the Lasker award announcements.

The Lasker Award for Clinical Medical Research will be shared by Drs. Mahlon DeLong of Emory University in Atlanta and Alim Louis Benabid of Joseph Fourier University in Grenoble, France. They developed a surgical treatment for Parkinson's disease.

In work that began in the late 1960s, DeLong traced Parkinson symptoms to over-activity in a specific part of the brain. Benabid, independently following up on that research, showed in 1995 that stimulating this area with a surgically implanted electrode could ease some Parkinson symptoms.

The Lasker Award for Basic Medical Research will be shared by Peter Walter of the University of California, San Francisco, and Kazutoshi Mori of Japan's Kyoto University.

They made key discoveries about how cells detect and manage their proteins that have not been folded correctly, which can make them harmful. The research has shed light on certain inherited diseases, including cystic fibrosis, the Foundation said.

Since 1942, when the Lasker awards began, 86 laureates also have won Nobel Prizes.

The Lasker Foundation was established in 1942. Albert Lasker was an advertising executive who died in 1952. His wife Mary was a longtime champion of medical research before her death in 1994.

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