Among the mostly male figures in the saga of the fight to defeat cancer portrayed in the documentary Cancer: The Emperor of All Maladies, is Mary Woodard Lasker. Born in 1900, she was a woman ahead of her time – a powerful businesswoman, art dealer and philanthropist who led a crusade to win passage of the National Cancer Act in 1971 and to dramatically increase funding for the National Institutes of Health. As she often reminded Congress, “If you think research is expensive, try disease.”

Lasker President Claire Pomeroy discusses Mary Lasker’s life and work in The Hill.