4th SCOR Young European Researcher Prize for research into Alzheimer’s disease
The Scientific Committee of the French Alzheimer’s Research Foundation, comprised of eight European neurology professors, has named Dr. Niklas Mattson of Sweden’s Lund University as the winner of the 4th SCOR Young European Researcher Prize, which is financed by the SCOR Corporate Foundation for Science.
Dr. Niklas Mattson’s original research on biomarkers has improved medical knowledge of disease mechanisms in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
A biomarker can be defined as “a naturally occurring molecule, gene, or characteristic by which a particular pathological or physiological process, disease, etc. can be identified”. Proteins or other molecules found in fluids such as blood or cerebrospinal fluid can constitute biomarkers, as can physiological or anatomical changes observed using techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), which uses MRI technology to measure brain activity by detecting changes associated with blood flow, and positron-emission tomography (PET), a scan that uses a radioactive substance called a tracer to look for disease in the body.
Niklas Mattson accepting his award at the ceremony organized by the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation on the 30th of January 2017.
(in the background, Bruno Latourette, Head of Actuarial & Risks at SCOR Global Life and member of the Board of Directors of the SCOR Foundation for Science)
Dr. Mattson’s research opens the way to possible medical progress in diagnosis and drug development. His work facilitates a detailed understanding of the very early stages of Alzheimer’s disease, and supports biomarker-guided trials for disease-modification. This research has led to improved methods and early diagnosis tests, as well as the identification of new drug-targets. The results have clear clinical significance and constitute a real advance in terms of research and clinical practice.
Extending and reinforcing a partnership initiated by SCOR in 2008, the SCOR Corporate Foundation for Science teamed up with the research program of the Alzheimer’s Research Foundation in June 2013, signing a sponsorship agreement that committed the SCOR Corporate Foundation for Science to the payment of EUR 1 million over five years. As well as creating an annual award for young European researchers, the agreement notably enables the Research Foundation to continue to observe a cohort of patients as part of a long-term study of Alzheimer’s sufferers, and to promote cooperation with foreign scientists in the field of research into this disease.