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In 1986 Microsoft Corporation launched its initial public offering, and Halley’s Comet last appeared in the inner solar system. And it was the year that Jack Ross, age 29, was diagnosed with testicular cancer.

Jack describes himself as “fortunate,” however, because a biomedical research program from Michigan had recently led to FDA approval for the use of cisplatin to treat testicular cancer in 1978. It would later become known as the “penicillin of cancer,” curing most forms of testicular cancer in up to 90% of cases. The story of the drug’s discovery from an experiment using platinum electrodes in bacterial cultures had become personal. Jack was cured.

This experience inspired Jack and Robin Ross to devote their time, resources and passion to research and led to their founding the Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine. The Prize recognizes individuals whose scientific advances and discoveries change the way medicine is practiced. It is awarded to midcareer scientists who have made a demonstrable impact in the understanding of human disease pathogenesis and/or treatment and who hold significant promise for making even greater contributions to the general field of molecular medicine.

I am proud to note here that Dan R Littman, MD, PhD, is the inaugural winner of the 2013 Ross Prize in Molecular Medicine for his seminal discoveries and ongoing research to better understand viral, immune and inflammatory diseases. Dr. Littman is the Helen L. and Martin S. Kimmel Professor of Molecular Immunology in the Skirball Institute of Biomolecular Medicine at NYU School of Medicine.

Molecular Medicine shares Jack and Robin Ross’s vision for this prize. Like the cure from Michigan that was implemented at Jack Ross’s bedside in New York, it is our vision that the contributions made by Ross Prize winners will impact the practice of medicine in the world community and enhance human health.

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Correspondence to Kevin J. Tracey.

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Tracey, K.J. Editorial. Mol Med 19, 303 (2013).

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