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2 Who Developed Prosthetic Heart Valves Are Honored

Doctors Alain Carpentier and Albert Starr, who were pioneers in the development of prosthetic heart valves, are among the winners of the Lasker Medical Prize, reports the New York Times. Prosthetic heart valves were developed less than 50 years ago but about 4 million of them have been implanted in patients around the world.

Starr and engineer Lowell Edwards implanted the first successful artificial heart valve in 1960. Edwards, who has since died, used their mechanical design as the basis for founding the company now known as Edwards Lifesciences. Starr, 81, is affiliated with the Providence Health System in Portland, OR. Carpentier was the first to experiment using human cadaver and pig valves as replacement valves. He went on to develop the first heart-valve repair system. Now 74, he practices at the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris. The two will split a $150,000 prize funded by the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation.

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