This year, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation chose to honor Vincent P. Dole, the physician who first recognized that narcotic addiction is a physiological problem that can be treated medically, and two molecular biologists, Thomas B. Cech and Philip A. Sharp, who made independent fundamental discoveries about the role of RNA in living cells.
Each Lasker award includes a $15,000 honorarium. Cech and Sharp share the honorarium for this year’s award in basic medical research. At an award luncheon last month, each winner also received a citation and a statuette of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, the foundation’s symbol of man’s victory over premature disability, death, and disease.
Dole, professor and senior physician emeritus at Rockefeller University, was honored for his research showing that heroin addiction can be controlled medically with methadone maintenance. In the first hospital studies of heroin addicts, Dole found that methadone...