In 1995, the Lasker award I received for clinical medicine helped push Helicobacter pylori across the threshold of global acceptance
as the stomach bacterium that causes ulcers and possibly stomach cancer. The
most respected scientific award from a US foundation served to drive home
the message that the time had come to treat patients with ulcers with antibiotics.
Within 2 years of the Lasker award, physicians in developed countries were
handed the tools to accomplish the task of curing chronic peptic ulcers. Effective
treatments were fast-tracked by the US Food and Drug Administration and new
diagnostic tests moved ulcer treatment into the domain of primary care physicians.
Ten years later, peptic ulcers are far less common, freeing up billions of
health care dollars.
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