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1996 LASKER LAUREATES: Seated, from left, are John Robbins and Rachel Schneerson; standing from left, are Ferid Murad, David Smith, Robert Furchgott, Paul Zamecnik, and Porter Anderson.
The Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation entered its second half-century earlier this month by presenting a new prize along with its coveted medical research awards. For the first time in its 51-year history, the New York-based philanthropy bestowed the Albert Lasker Award for Special Achievement in Medical Sciences. This award for contributions "of unique magnitude and immeasurable influence on the course of science" went to Paul C. Zamecnik, 84, principal scientist at the Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research in Shrewsbury, Mass. He was recognized for his fundamental research in two areas, protein synthesis and antisense DNA, snippets of the genetic code used in disease-fighting therapies.

The 1996 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award was shared by Ferid...

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