When Brian J. Druker was a boy, he wanted to be a baseball player; Nicholas B. Lydon had his sights set on flying jets; Charles L. Sawyers knew early on that he wanted to practice medicine. Decades later, this trio (Figure 1) would collaborate to revolutionize the treatment of chronic myelogenous leukemia (CML). On September 14, the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation announced that they will recognize these researchers with the 2009 Lasker-DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award for research that led to the development of drugs, including imatinib (Gleevec) and dasatinib (Sprycel), which have converted CML from a fatal cancer to a manageable condition. Notably, imatinib was the first successful, molecularly targeted, small-molecule drug approved for cancer therapy. The winners spoke with the JCI about their success story.
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