Prize for research on multiple sclerosis goes to Lawrence Steinman

Lawrence Steinman

Lawrence Steinman

Lawrence Steinman, MD, the George A. Zimmerman Professor of Neurology and Neurological Sciences, will receive the 2011 Multiple Sclerosis International Federation Charcot Award, a biennial award that recognizes a lifetime achievement in research into the understanding or treatment of multiple sclerosis.

“Few investigators have been so widely recognized or successful in illuminating critical disease mechanisms, in a way that has moved knowledge from molecular analysis to licensed therapy,” Alan Thompson, MD, chair of the award panel, said in announcing Steinman’s selection.

Steinman’s research has focused on the immunological mechanisms of relapse and remission in MS, the identification and characterization of genes that regulate inflammation in the brain and the development of novel therapies that modulate the immune system.

He is now leading efforts to develop a vaccine that turns off the autoimmune response in MS, and to define mechanistic biomarkers for MS — substances whose presence in the body can be used to predict the outcome of current therapies and illuminate the pathogenic mechanisms of the disease.

“I’ve never been more excited about the discoveries we are making in the lab and in the clinic,” Steinman said after being notified of the award. “However, until MS is cured, such prizes may be greeted with more than a bit of legitimate skepticism for many of those individuals whom I know, whose MS is a massive, daily challenge.”

The prize, with a cash award of around $2,500, will be presented at the annual European Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis meeting in Amsterdam later this year.

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