PG Medicine Award foster scientific research related to discovery the cause and cure for Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).
Since 2011, this award is annual, having the support of International Alliance of ALS/MND Associations and the Motor Neuron Disease Association and is considered by the international jury committee of the Institute.The delivery ceremony take place during the opening session of International Symposium on ALS/MND.
Past winners of PG Medicine Award are:
2007: Brazilian biologist Agnes Nishimura, from Institute of Psychiatry - King´s College London, Postdoctoral researcher specialized in embryonic stem cell in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), was the winner of the 1st PG Medicine Award with the study: “Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis – Type 8 (ALS8): identifying and characterizing a new motor neuron disease in a large Brazilian familial community”. In this research was identified a new gene that causes ALS – the VAPB in chromosome 20.
2009: The 2nd PG Medicine Award was delivered in June, 2009 to the Belgian scientist Peter Carmeliet, director of the VIB - Vesalius Research Center, at the University of Leuven in Belgium, by the study “Novel role for VEGF Receptor-1 and VEGF-B in Motor Neuron Degeneration”, in which is investigated the neuroprotector function of the protein VEGF-B (Vascular endothelial growth factor B)
2011: Aaron Gitler, Associate Professor in the Department of Genetics at Stanford University, was the winner of the 3th PG Medicine Award, by the study: “Ataxin-2 intermediate-length polyglutamine expansions are associated with increased risk for ALS". In this research is show that ataxin 2 (ATXN2), a polyglutamine (polyQ) protein mutated in spinocerebellar ataxia type 2, is a potent modifier of TDP-43 toxicity in animal and cellular models. The study establish that ATXN2 have a common ALS susceptibility gene
2012: The winner of 4th PG Medicine Award was “Expanded GGGGCC Hexanucleotide Repeat in Noncoding Region of C90RF72 Causes Chromosome 9p-Linked FTD and ALS”, from Rosa Rademakers, researcher of the Department of Neuroscience at Mayo Clinic. In this study was identified a genetic alteration found in patients with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis and Frontotemporal dementia. This study establishes a relationship between these two diseases, which have been discussed in the last years.
2013: The 5th PG Medicine Award was delivered to the Dutch researcher Michael Van Es, of the University Medical Center Utrecht for his research entitled " Evidence for an oligogenic basis of Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis " , on which has been demonstrated evidence of the complexity of the etiology of ALS. The findings of Van Es brings consequences for the interpretation of genetic studies and genetic counseling
2014: Clotilde Lagier-Tourenne, M.D., Ph.D, assistant professor of the Department of Neurosciences at University of California, San Diego and assistant investigator at Ludwig Institute for Cancer Research is the winner of the 6th PG Medicine Award for her remarkable research Targeted Degradation of Sense and Antisense C9orf72 RNA foci as therapy for ALS and frontotemporal degeneration. The research sheds light on how the C9orf72 mutation causes nerve cell death in ALS and frontotemporal dementia and presents strategies to correct defective genes associated with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis.
2015: The 8th PG Medine Award was delivered to the researcher Gareth Brian Miles, Ph.D., professor at the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience, co-director of the Institute of Behavioral and Neural Sciences at the University of St. Andrews and member of the Center for Research Neuromotor Euan MacDonald Diseases at the University of Edinburgh, UK. Miles stood out for his research "Human iPSC-derived motoneurons Harbouring TARDBP or C9ORF72 ALS mutations are dysfunctional Despite Maintaining viability," which investigates how networks of neurons within the spinal cord control movement and how a dysfunction within these networks contribute to motor disorders such as ALS. To investigate both the basic biology of motor control such as the changes in motor networks that occur due to illness, the research contributes to reveal new targets that will lead to new treatments for ALS
2016: The 8th PG International Medicine Prize was awarded to Edor Kabashi, a researcher at the Institute for Brain and Spinal Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital in Paris. The research seeks to clarify how a variety of genetic mutations can cause degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS. The goal is to define common points between the genetic causes of ALS, to identify therapeutic compounds that benefit the majority of patients.
2017: The 9th Paulo Gontijo International Award in Medicine was awarded to Dr. Marka van Blitterswijk (M.D., Ph.D.), assistant professor of neuroscience at the Mayo Clinic (Jacksonville, FL, USA). She tries to understand why there is so much variability amongst patients with ALS, including in the age at which the first symptoms occur, presence of dementia, disease progression, and survival. Most of her patient-oriented research has focused on one particular cause of ALS: a mutation in a gene called C9ORF72. Together with her colleagues, she has examined specific candidates, but she is also using more sophisticated large-scale approaches, to find abnormalities in our DNA and RNA that might account for this variability. These abnormalities could point to promising disease modifiers, biomarkers, and/or therapeutic targets, translating her research into clinical practice. Importantly, Dr. Van Blitterswijk’s work emphasizes that the explanation is much more complex than previously thought, and that an intricate combination of factors is responsible for the observed variability.
2018: The 9th Paulo Gontijo International Award in Medicine was awarded to Dr Rickie Patani (M.D., Ph.D.) is an Associate Professor (Reader) at UCL's Institute of Neurology and The Francis Crick Institute (UK). He is a Consultant Neurologist at the National Hospital for Neurology (Queen Square, UK). Dr. Patani's laboratory uses human induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs) and developmentally-rationalised directed differentiation to generate clinically relevant populations of neuronal and glia. Dr. Patani's work emphasizes the importance of interdisciplinarity and team science, integrating stem cell biology, developmental biology, neuropathology, bioinformatics and RNA biology. His research specifically focuses on two main areas: i) how abnormalities in RNA transcript structure lead to aberrant RNA-protein interactions to cause ALS and ii) how astrocytes conspire with motor neurons to cause ALS. By validating primary findings (from ALS patient-specific iPSCs) in mouse transgenic models and human post-mortem tissue from sporadic ALS cases, Dr Patani aims to translate high confidence discovery science into new therapeutic strategies, which are desperately needed in ALS.