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Professor Alan Thompson, Leader in Research on Progressive MS, Wins Sobek Prize

January 4, 2021

Professor Alan J. Thompson, a clinician scientist who is a leader in research efforts to find solutions for people with progressive MS, has been awarded the 2020 Sobek Prize. He is from the Queen Square Institute of Neurology and Dean of the Faculty of Brain Sciences in the University College London. The Sobel Research Prize is given jointly by the German National MS Society and the MS Society of Baden-Württemberg (the AMSEL).
Prof. Thompson has focused his lengthy career on the care and treatment of people with MS, especially primary progressive MS, where he was instrumental in using magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) to determine criteria for diagnosis. His work has opened the way to understanding the complexities of progressive forms of MS. He has advanced non-pharmaceutical approaches, such as rehabilitation strategies, for treating symptoms of MS, and was involved in developing measures for mobility, spasticity (stiff muscles), pain, and other symptoms and the impacts of disability.  

Prof. Thompson contributes widely to the global MS community as a teacher, mentor, volunteer leader, and advisor. He has led and served on national and international scientific boards and committees, including a leader of the International Progressive MS Alliance. The Alliance is a global collaborative that brings together the force of 19 MS societies, multiple donors and foundations, and many researchers, for which Prof. Thompson has served as the founding scientific chair. He is outgoing chair of the influential International Advisory Committee on Clinical Trials in Multiple Sclerosis, a body that works to provide perspective and guidance in areas of interest to planning and implementing clinical trials for new agents for the treatment of MS.
Prof. Thompson has published many research articles in high-ranking scientific journals and edited state-of-the-art textbooks. He was the 2017 recipient of the John Dystel Prize for MS Research given by the National MS Society (USA).

About Multiple Sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable, often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There is currently no cure for MS. Symptoms vary from person to person and range from numbness and tingling, to mobility challenges, blindness and paralysis. An estimated 1 million people live with MS in the United States. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects women three times more than men.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society, founded in 1946, funds cutting-edge research, drives change through advocacy, and provides programs and services to help people affected by MS live their best lives. Connect to learn more and get involved:, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube or 1-800-344-4867.


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