Paris, December 9, 2021 – The Pasteur Weizmann/Servier 2021 Prize was awarded to Professor Catherine Lubetzki, Head of the University Medical Neuroscience Department of AP-HP Sorbonne University and Medical Director of the Paris Brain Institute located at the center of the Pitié Salpêtrière Hospital.
For more than 30 years, Catherine Lubetzki’s research has focused on the repair mechanisms of the central nervous system in patients with multiple sclerosis (MS), a disease that affects 50 to 300 people in 100,000. The treatment of MS has been transformed by immunotherapies that reduce inflammation and clinical relapses, but preventing the progression of disability related to axonal and neuronal loss remains a therapeutic challenge. The work of Catherine Lubetzki and her team has made it possible to develop experimental models, understand the mechanisms involved and identify therapeutic targets; this has led to the introduction of therapeutic trials for patients with multiple sclerosis. In addition, the imaging work carried out under the supervision of Prof. Bruno Stankoff, who is co-directing the research team, has made it possible to quantify demyelination and remyelination in humans and thus has revealed inter-individual heterogeneity of myelin repair capacities.
Thus, the Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier Prize is this year dedicated to neurodegenerative pathologies, honoring the career of a clinical researcher primarily dedicated to MS, who has consistently combined fundamental research with clinical activity of therapeutic management and support for many MS patients.
The prize, in the amount of 250,000 euros, will be awarded to the research team “Remyelination in multiple sclerosis: from biology to clinical translation” co-directed by Professors Catherine Lubetzki and Bruno Stankoff at the Paris Brain Institute.
As the winner of the Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier Prize, Prof. Catherine Lubetzki follows in the footsteps of international scientific luminaries such as Prof. Merril Benson in 2003 (amyloidosis), Prof. Lucienne Chatenoud and Prof. George Eisenbarth in 2006 (autoimmunity and type 1 diabetes), Prof. Endel Tulving in 2009 (neuropsychology of memory), Prof. Caroline Dive in 2012 (circulating biomarkers), Prof. Félix Rey in 2015 (emerging pathogenic viruses) and Prof. Pierre Sadelain in 2018 (immunoregulation and cancer).
“I am very honored to receive the Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier Prize, which rewards the work of an entire team of clinician-researchers,” said Prof. Catherine Lubetzki. “We are very proud of this award and it encourages us to continue our research.”
“The Servier Institute is proud to be able to list Professor Catherine Lubetzki among the winners of the
Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier Prize and welcomes the major advances that her research work on multiple sclerosis has made”, said Dr Christophe Charpentier, General Delegate of the Servier Institute. “The Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier Prize is dedicated to promoting fundamental research with high therapeutic potential for the benefit of patients. This is perfectly illustrated by Catherine Lubetzki’s research work, which has led to the development of new therapeutic strategies for the prevention of disability, a real source of hope for patients, most of whom are young women.”
The 7th Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier Prize will be officially awarded to the winner on December 14 this year during a ceremony at the Collège de France (Paris), in the presence of Professor Gérard Friedlander, Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Servier Institute, Professor Michel Goldberg, Professor Emeritus at the Pasteur Institute, Olivier Laureau, President of the Servier Group, and Maurice Lévy, Chairman of the Pasteur-Weizmann Council. The award ceremony will be preceded by a symposium on neurodegenerative diseases (with lectures by Professors Anne-Marie Guillemard, Yves Agid, Roland Liblau and Catherine Lubetzki).
About the Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier Prize
The Pasteur-Weizmann/Servier Prize is awarded every three years and is one of the largest research prizes in the world. Created by the Pasteur-Weizmann Council and the Servier Institute, this prize worth 250,000 euros rewards an internationally recognized researcher, doctor, or scientist, and/or his/her team for a major contribution to a biomedical discovery resulting in a therapeutic application.
Its aim is to promote and encourage fundamental research, in particular the transition from fundamental research to medical therapy.
More information can be found at: https://institut-servier.com/fr/prix-pasteur-weizmann-servier
About the Pasteur-Weizmann Council
The Pasteur-Weizmann Council is the association of two world-renowned research institutes, the Pasteur Institute and the Weizmann Institute of Science. This collaboration was initiated 47 years ago by Mrs Simone Veil, then Minister of Health, who had the idea of creating close collaboration between these two institutes, focusing on the universality of science as a vector for peace. Chaired by Mr Maurice Lévy, the Pasteur-Weizmann Council is renowned for the quality of its collaborative research. With research on the consequences of Covid-19, antibiotic resistance, and the fight against neurodegenerative diseases, the Pasteur-Weizmann Council is dedicated to what is indisputably a great cause: the fight against disease and suffering. More information can be found at: www.pasteur-weizmann.com
About L’Institut Servier
L’Institut Servier is a non-profit association. Its mission is to develop research in all its forms as well as scientific knowledge for medical progress. It does this by organizing high-level conferences and awarding grants that allow post-docs, medical students and researchers to pursue a degree outside their country of origin through partnerships with organizations dedicated to worldwide health and sponsorship of training organizations in emerging countries. These various projects are carried out without any promotion of Servier products. More information can be found at: https://institut-servier.com/fr
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 Lubetzki C, Zalc B, Williams A, Stadelmann C, Stankoff B. Remyelination in multiple sclerosis: from basic science to clinical translation. Lancet Neurol. 2020 Aug;19(8):678-688. doi: 10.1016/S1474-4422(20)30140-X. PMID: 32702337.