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Researchers, Aid Group Win Lasker Awards

FILE - One of the Ebola treatment centers set up in Monrovia, Liberia, by the aid group Doctors Without Borders, or Médecins Sans Frontières.

Three researchers and an international aid group have won Lasker Awards, among the most prestigious prizes for excellence in medical research.

The awards, sometimes called "America's Nobels," are given in three categories with prizes of $250,000 in each of them. They will be presented in Manhattan on September 18. The awards program is administered by the Lasker Foundation, which promotes medical research.

Scientists Evelyn Witkin and Stephen Elledge shared the Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award for their work in unraveling how cells detect and respond to DNA damage.

James Allison, a scientist whose discoveries have led to transformative new therapies that unleash the immune system against cancer, won the Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award.

The physicians aid group Doctors Without Borders won the Lasker-Bloomberg Public Service Award for “bold leadership” in fighting the Ebola epidemic in West Africa, “and for sustained and effective front-line responses to health emergencies,” the Lasker Foundation said in a statement.

Doctors Without Borders, also called Médecins Sans Frontières, provides medical assistance and humanitarian aid in response to war, famine, infectious disease and natural disasters. It was founded in France in 1971 and now consists of 24 national or regional associations.