Greek Scientist Receives Award for Breakthrough Multiple Sclerosis Research

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Dr. Katerina Akassoglou, a researcher at the University of California at San Francisco, has received the prestigious International Barancik Prize for Innovation in Multiple Sclerosis Research.

Dr. Akassoglou was the head of a series of studies to reveal the role of blood coagulating protein called fibrin. Using an antibiotic that inhibits fibrin, Dr. Akassoglou’s team managed to reduce microglia activation and reduce the damage to nerve fibers in mice.

“With our research, we understood that there are interactions between the brain, the immune system and the vascular system that are critical to the development of brain diseases,” the Greek scientist said.

“These findings can lead to the creation of new tools for the diagnosis and treatment of neurological diseases. Based on this knowledge, we developed the first immunotherapy to selectively inhibit the toxic effects of blood on the brain. Our work could be a guide to developing new ways of early diagnosis and treatment that could ultimately benefit patients with brain leakage not only in multiple sclerosis but also in brain injuries and Alzheimer’s Disease,” she continued.

The Barancik Prize recognizes and encourages innovation and originality in scientific research on multiple sclerosis and awards future leaders in research for the treatment of multiple sclerosis. It is awarded by the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation.

Multiple Sclerosis is an unpredictable, often debilitating central nervous system disorder that disrupts the flow of information within the brain and between the brain and the body. Symptoms vary from person to person, ranging from numbness and tingling to difficulty walking, fatigue, dizziness, pain, depression, blindness, and paralysis. Most people with multiple sclerosis are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and affects women two to three times more than it affects men. It is estimated that today more than 2.3 million people worldwide suffer from multiple sclerosis.

Dr. Akassoglou received her Ph.D. in Neuroimmunology from the University of Athens, Greece. She also had a Postdoc in Neurovascular Biology from The Rockefeller University in New York and a Postdoc in Neuroscience from the New York University.

She is currently a Professor of Neurology at the UCSF School of Medicine.

(Source: Athens-Macedonian News Agency )