Prenatal test confirms Fetal Down syndrome… American Version of Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine ‘Lasker Award’ Honoree: Dong-A Science

The development of the Corona 19 dashboard was chosen, ‘Integrin’ research which also helps cells to bind

A Hong Kong medical scientist who developed a test method to determine whether a fetus has Down syndrome before giving birth by analyzing the fetal DNA in a pregnant woman’s blood has been chosen as the 2022 Lasker Prize in Clinical Medicine winner.

Scholars who studied ‘integrin’, a protein that helps cells attach to other cells or substances, and who developed a dashboard showing the global status of the new coronavirus infection (COVID-19) have been confirmed award

The Albert & Mary Lasker Foundation announced on the 28th (local time) the winners of the Lasker Prize, known as the ‘American Version of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine’. The Lasker Prize is awarded annually to medical scientists who have contributed to clinical medicine and public health by discovering the cause, treatment, or prevention of disease. Established in 1946, it is considered one of the most prestigious awards in the field of medicine, as it has been called ‘the American version of the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine’.

The Lasker Prize is awarded in three categories: basic medicine, clinical medicine, and public service. Half of the winners of the Basic Medicine Prize have won a Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. For this reason, it is also known as the ‘Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine’. The winner will receive a cash prize of $250,000 (approximately 359 million won).

The Lasker Foundation announced the winners of the 2022 Lasker Prize on the 28th (local time).  Courtesy of the Lasker Foundation

The Lasker Foundation announced the winners of the 2022 Lasker Prize on the 28th (local time). Courtesy of the Lasker Foundation

Professor Dennis Lo from China’s University of Hong Kong, who was chosen as the winner of the clinical medicine category, developed technology to isolate and detect a baby’s DNA fragment from a pregnant woman’s blood sample. This technology can know the genetic information of the fetus without collecting amniotic fluid directly from the pregnant woman using a device such as an injection.

In particular, it is used to determine whether a fetus has Down syndrome. A fetus with Down syndrome has a total of 3 chromosomes 21 out of 22 pairs of chromosomes succeeded. In an experiment carried out in 2008, Professor Lo correctly confirmed the status of 21 fetuses with Down’s syndrome and 14 normal fetuses out of 35 fetuses.

In the basic medicine category, Richard Hines, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Erki Ruoslatti, a researcher at the Sanford Burnham Previs Institute for Medical Discovery, and Timothy Springer, a professor at Boston Children’s Hospital affiliated with Harvard Medical School, have were chosen jointly as the winners. They were recognized for their research achievements on integrin, a protein that acts as a bridge in the process of bonding cells with other cells or nearby substances.

Integrins could be used to better bind disease-fighting therapeutics to cells in the human body. The Lasker Institute explained that integrin has been used usefully in the treatment of inflammatory bowel diseases such as dry eye syndrome, multiple sclerosis, ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease.

The special award, which has been renamed to the public services sector from this year onwards, went to Lauren Gardner, professor of civil systems engineering at Johns Hopkins University in the United States. Professor Gardner was selected as the winner for achieving the development of a dashboard that can check the status of confirmed cases worldwide in the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. The dashboard, which Professor Gardner has been operating on since February 2020, reflects data from an average of 450 million cases per day and provides real-time information on COVID-19 cases. When international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO) did not start tracking the number of cases, Dr. Gardner’s dashboard is praised for providing useful information to scientists and ordinary citizens.

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