Albert Lasker
Clinical Medical Research Award

Award Description

Max Theiler
For distinguished experimental work leading directly to the production of two effective vaccines against yellow fever.

Dr. Max Theiler discovered in 1930 that white mice are susceptible to yellow fever virus inoculated intra-cerebrally and that serial intra-cerebral passage of the virus in this host produces a loss of virulence for monkeys.

This observation revealed for the first time the possibility of protecting exposed human beings against attacks of this dread disease. It led almost at once to a method of human vaccination against yellow fever which is still extensively used. Further work by Dr. Theiler, in 1936 and 1937, resulted in the production of a more profound modification of the virus by means of prolonged maintenance in tissue cultures. This strain of virus, known as 17D, has been made the basis of another effective vaccine utilized for the protection of millions of human beings against yellow fever in various parts of the world.

Philip Hench and Edward Kendall
Joint award for their chemical physiological and clinical studies of adrenal hormones which culminated in the development of the use of cortisone in rheumatic disease therapy.

After isolating thyroxine from the thyroid gland in 1914 and glutathione from yeast in 1939, Dr. Kendall turned his attention to the chemistry of the hormones of the adrenal glands. Since 1932, Dr. Kendall has achieved a rare measure of success in the isolation of active steroids from the adrenal cortex, including Compounds A, E, and F. The chemical isolation of these substances made it possible for Dr. Kendall and his collaborators, as well as investigators throughout the world, to study their physiological action. Dr. Kendall's chemical studies have also aided immeasurably in the recent large-scale synthesis of Compounds A and E.

Dr. Philip Hench, a physician with a long and deep interest in rheumatic disorders, had on clinical grounds come to believe that an inadequate supply of certain adrenal steroids might constitute a fundamental disturbance in rheumatoid arthritis and allied disorders. In closest association with Dr. Kendall, Dr. Hench systematically tested the effects of various adrenal hormones as they became available for clinical trial. These studies culminated in the demonstration of the almost miraculous therapeutic effect of Compound E, now termed Cortisone, in the management of rheumatic disorders.