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Not Quite the Mega-Millions, But It'll Do

Six life science researchers and two theoretical physicists have gone home with a total $21 million after winning a scientific prize backed by billionaire Yuri Milner, the Nature News blog reports. It adds that the ceremony was a "glitzy" affair featuring the actor Kevin Spacey and the singer Lana Del Ray.

This year's life science winners are University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center's James Allison, Emory University's Mahlon DeLong, Michael Hall from the University of Basel, MIT's Robert Langer, Yale University's Richard Lifton, and Alexander Varshavsky at Caltech. Each received a $3 million prize.

At the award ceremony, Milner announced that he has teamed up with Mark Zuckerberg from Facebook to expand these awards to include $3 million mathematics prizes in the future, the New York Times adds.

The Guardian notes that there is some ambivalence about such large prizes. "The great philanthropists of the 19th and 20th centuries, like the Rockefellers and the Carnegies, did not create prizes — they created universities and research institutes that have enabled thousands of scientists to make great breakthroughs over the succeeding decades," an unnamed physicist tells the paper.

Some past winners have set up funds to help students, the Guardian adds.

The Scan

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Breast Cancer Risk Gene Candidates Found by Multi-Ancestry Low-Frequency Variant Analysis

Researchers narrowed in on new and known risk gene candidates with variant profiles for almost 83,500 individuals with breast cancer and 59,199 unaffected controls in Genome Medicine.

Health-Related Quality of Life Gets Boost After Microbiome-Based Treatment for Recurrent C. Diff

A secondary analysis of Phase 3 clinical trial data in JAMA Network Open suggests an investigational oral microbiome-based drug may lead to enhanced quality of life measures.

Study Follows Consequences of Early Confirmatory Trials for Accelerated Approval Indications

Time to traditional approval or withdrawal was shorter when confirmatory trials started prior to accelerated approval, though overall regulatory outcomes remained similar, a JAMA study finds.