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2018 John Dystel Prize for MS Research Goes to Prof. Frederik Barkhof - A Leader in Using MRI to Study MS

March 29, 2018

SUMMARYBarkhof.jpg
  • Frederik Barkhof, MD, PhD, has been chosen by a committee of his peers to receive the National MS Society/American Academy of Neurology’s 2018 John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research.
  • He is being honored as a leader in using MRI to improve the diagnosis of MS, to better understand the disease, and to speed the search for better therapies.
  • Professor Barkhof is Professor of Neuroradiology in the Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, VU University Medical Center (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and at the Institutes of Neurology and Healthcare Engineering, University College London (London, UK).
  • The Dystel Prize is given jointly by the National MS Society and the American Academy of Neurology. It was established by the late Society National Board member Oscar Dystel and his wife Marion, in honor of their son John Jay Dystel.
  • He will receive the prize and give the award lecture on April 22, 2018 at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Los Angeles. 
DETAILS
Professor Frederik Barkhof has been chosen by a committee of his peers to receive the National MS Society/American Academy of Neurology’s 2018 John Dystel Prize for Multiple Sclerosis Research. Dr. Barkhof is a Professor of Neuroradiology in the Department of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine, VU University Medical Center (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and at the Institutes of Neurology and Healthcare Engineering, University College London (London, UK). He is a pioneer in the field of investigative neuroradiology: the use of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) techniques to study multiple sclerosis. The “Barkhof criteria” he developed are critical in using MRI findings to enable an earlier and accurate diagnosis of MS.

“In my opinion, no advance in MS research has made more of an impact on the disease than MRI and Professor Barkhof has been at the forefront of this effort since the early stages of its development,” noted Henry F. McFarland, MD (Scientist Emeritus. NINDS, NIH), the 1998 Dystel Prize winner who nominated Prof. Barkhof for the Dystel Prize.

“He has made important contributions across a range of interrelated areas including diagnosis, monitoring, trial design, and disease mechanisms,” wrote Alan J. Thompson, MD (Dean of the University College London Faculty of Brain Sciences) and 2017 Dystel Prize winner, in support of the nomination. He combines “collegiality with scientific rigor and a passion for collaboration.”

“His insights have greatly contributed to modern trial design and therapeutics, which is now propelling the field in important and increasingly focused directions,” wrote Jerry S. Wolinsky, MD (Emeritus Professor in Neurology, McGovern Medical School, University of Texas).

Professor Barkhof’s contributions include:
Developing MRI criteria for the diagnosis of MS: The groundbreaking guidelines his team formulated for identifying specific areas in the brain to look for MS lesions are known as the Barkhof criteria; they have been crucial to using MRI findings for an earlier and more accurate diagnosis of MS. His understanding of how to use MRI findings forms the basis for the current diagnostic approach to MS.
 
Improving clinical trials: Professor Barkhof’s contributions to imaging-based clinical trial design are being increasingly used to evaluate these trials for disease progression, disability, and nerve protection and repair, and to rapidly screen for and test the effectiveness of many potential therapies.
 
Pioneering the use of measures of “black hole” lesions: So-called “black hole” brain lesions (T1 hypointense lesions) are areas of relatively severe tissue damage. They show up differently on MRIs from the lesions that show up as bright spots (T2 hyperintense) and are considered to be independent neurodegenerative markers of the disease process.

Sharing knowledge: Prof. Barkhof is the author of three books—Neuroimaging in Dementia, Clinical Applications of Functional Brain MRI, and Magnetic Resonance in Dementia—as well as chapters in many books. He has written or co-authored more than 900 papers referenced in PubMed and was named by Thompson-Reuters one of the 3,000 most influential scientists in the world. As an early member and leader of the European MAGNIMS consortium, a network of academics who study MS using MRI techniques, Prof. Barkhof was instrumental in defining the field and establishing its value. He has lectured widely around the world on many aspects of diagnosing and treating MS. He has also served as a mentor and a teacher to dozens of doctoral and postdoctoral fellows.
 
Professor Barkhof will receive the award and give the prize lecture on April 22, 2018 at the upcoming Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Los Angeles.
 
About the Prize: The Dystel Prize is given jointly by the National MS Society and the American Academy of Neurology. The late Society National Board member Oscar Dystel and his late wife Marion established the Prize in 1994 in honor of their son John Jay Dystel, an attorney whose promising career was cut short by progressive disability from MS. (John died of complications of the disease in June 2003.) Previous winners of the Prize are Drs. Donald Paty (1995), Cedric Raine (1996), John Kurtzke (1997), Henry McFarland (1998), W. Ian McDonald (1999), Kenneth Johnson (2000), John Prineas (2001), Stephen Waxman (2002), Bruce Trapp (2003), Lawrence Steinman (2004), Jack Antel (2005), William Sibley (2006), Howard Weiner (2007), Stephen Hauser (2008), David Miller (2009), David Hafler (2010), Brian Weinshenker (2011), Richard Ransohoff (2012), George Ebers (2013), Barry Arnason (2014), Alastair Compston (2015), Claudia Lucchinetti (2016), and Alan J. Thompson (2017). Read more about other Dystel Prize winners.

Biography: Frederik Barkhof, MD, PhD, is a Professor in Neuroradiology in the Department of Radiology & Nuclear Medicine at VU University, Amsterdam, and a Professor of Neuroradiology at the Institutes of Neurology and Healthcare Engineering at the University College of London. He is scientific Director of the Image Analysis Center (IAC), VU Medical Center (VUmc), and leads the Queen Square MS Centre Trial Unit, where he is involved in the analysis of multicenter drug trials. He received his medical degree from VU in 1988 and his PhD in 1992, for which he received the Philips Prize for Radiology and the Lucien Appel Prize for Neuroradiology. Prof. Barkhof was chair of the Dutch Society of Neuroradiology and the MAGNIMS study group for many years. He serves on the editorial boards of Radiology, Brain, Multiple Sclerosis Journal, Neuroradiology, and Neurology. He is a fellow of the Royal College of Radiology, and the Principal Investigator of a large European study to prevent Alzheimer’s disease (www.amypad.eu).
 
Read a profile of Prof. Barkhof in The Lancet

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system that disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Symptoms range from numbness and tingling to blindness and paralysis. The progress, severity and specific symptoms of MS in any one person cannot yet be predicted, but advances in research and treatment are leading to better understanding and moving us closer to a world free of MS. Most people with MS are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, with at least two to three times more women than men being diagnosed with the disease. MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide.

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