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.

Impact

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

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