Helmut Butzkueven and his team.

Research Australia, an organisation focusing on health and medical research, has presented its Data Innovation Award to Professor Helmut Butzkueven in recognition of his crucial work in developing the world’s largest MS database, MSBase. Professor Butzkueven received support for his work from the multiple sclerosis organisation, MS Research Australia.

The Data Innovation Award is presented to individuals or teams that have developed innovative methods of gathering and sharing data in a way that advances health and medical research.

MSBase is a strong example of such innovation. This revolutionary database shares, tracks, and evaluates clinical data in more than 55,000 people with MS from 33 countries.

Professor Butzkueven, a neurologist and internationally recognised MS researcher based at the Melbourne Brain Centre, Royal Melbourne and Box Hill Hospitals, is the driving force behind the project. He received early career support from MS Research Australia, with a MS Research Australia-NHMRC co-funded Practitioner Fellowship in 2006. Professor Butzkueven and members of his team  have also received many other MS Research Australia grants since this time, including incubator grants, project grants, scholarships and fellowships.

Crucial data

MS affects 23,000 people in Australia.

“We don’t know why some treatments work better than others for some people living with MS”, said Nadia Levin, CEO of Research Australia.

“That’s where data on the scale collected by MSBase is so necessary.”

Dr Matthew Miles, CEO of MS Research Australia, commended the positive impact of the database.

“MSBase has been crucial to defining the real world outcomes for people with MS”, he explained. “It has led to the development of consensus guidelines for the treatment of MS patients worldwide. None of this would have been possible without the original vision and ongoing drive of Professor Butzkueven.”

Professor Butzkueven is also integrally involved in several of MS Research Australia’s national collaborative research platforms including being co-principal investigator on the PrevANZ vitamin D MS prevention trial, a member of  the ANZgene MS Genetics Consortium, and a member of the Australian MS Longitudinal Study Project Management team.

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