The Charcot Award is given once every two years to recognise a lifetime of achievement in outstanding research into the understanding or treatment of MS.
The winner of the 2013 Charcot Award was Professor Stephen Hauser.
Professor Hauser is an international leader in MS research and for more than two decades has led the systematic efforts to identify genes that determine susceptibility to multiple sclerosis. These efforts led to the identification of specific genes of the HLA system (a group of genes that play an important role in many aspects of immunity) linked to MS.
He was a founding member of the International Multiple Sclerosis Genetics Consortium in 2002, which helped identify the first two non-HLA genes involved in susceptibility to multiple sclerosis, IL-2Rα and IL-7R α (CD127).
In the United States, Professor Hauser established and has since maintained the first national DNA repository for multiple sclerosis, making available samples from well-characterized individuals for investigators worldwide.
Professor Hauser also worked on the role of B cells and the antibodies they produce in the pathogenesis of multiple sclerosis. The findings from these studies were translated into a new therapy for multiple sclerosis, using the anti-CD20 monoclonal antibody rituximab to deplete B cells. He led a large clinical trial evaluating rituximab, and the results published in 2008 demonstrated robust efficacy in relapsing remitting multiple sclerosis. Phase III trials with the humanized antibody ocrelizumab are currently underway.
While Professor Hauser has made outstanding contributions to the clinical science of human demyelinating disease, his larger impact on neuroscience and medicine has also been exceptional and far-reaching. He is a past president of the American Neurological Association and has been an editor of several prestigious journals. For more than two decades, he has led the Department of Neurology at the University of California San Francisco, training and inspiring a generation of younger neurologists.
Prof Hauser has chaired numerous committees of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and is currently serving on the Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues, charged with advising President Barack Obama on issues that may emerge from advances in biomedicine and related areas of science and technology.
Past winners of the Charcot Award
2011 Prof Larry Steinman USA
2009 Prof John Prineas Australia
2007 Prof Alastair Compston UK
2005 Prof Hans Lassmann Austria
2003 Dr Henry McFarland USA
2001 Prof Hartmut Wekerle Germany
1999 Prof John Kurtzke USA
1995 Prof Donald Paty Canada
1993 Dr Byron Waksman USA
1991 Prof Ian McDonald UK
1988 Dr Yoshigoro Kuroiwa Japan
1985 Dr Richard T Johnson USA
1983 Dr Leonard T Kurland USA
1981 Dr Helmut Bauer Germany
1969 Dr Douglas McAlpine UK