Wallenberg Clinical Scholars 2016

STOCKHOLM, 29-Apr-2016 — /EuropaWire/ — The five clinical researchers study common diseases such as Parkinson’s, kidney failure, osteoporosis, dementia and cardiovascular diseases. The individual funding of SEK 15 million provides them with the opportunity to deepen their research and disseminate their results in healthcare.

The aim of the Wallenberg Clinical Scholars program is to boost Swedish clinical research by identifying the best clinical researchers, providing them with good conditions for conducting activities and disseminating their research results, both in the scientific community and in healthcare.

“Clinical research is an important link between basic research and patient-based clinical activities. Over the next ten years, we will be making major investments in the life sciences, particularly in basic research, but clinical elements such as this are also an important part of what we’re doing,” says Peter Wallenberg Jr, chairman of the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation.

“Clinical research is absolutely decisive for healthcare services, public health and the pharmaceutical industry,” says Göran K. Hansson, Secretary General of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences. “However, recently it has become increasingly difficult to combine research with healthcare. Scheduling, care programs and financial savings have reduced opportunities to conduct high-class clinical research in Sweden, which is why the Wallenberg Clinical Scholars program is very welcome. This year’s Scholars are prominent researchers in a broad medical field, and at the Academy we are pleased and proud that they will have the opportunity to invest even more in clinical research.”

Wallenberg Clinical Scholars 2016:

Olle Melander, Senior Physician and Professor at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, has found several biomarkers in the body that better predict whether someone will develop cardiovascular disease. As a Wallenberg Clinical Scholar, he will investigate whether these markers could be directly involved in the development of the disease by studying whether people with genetically raised levels more frequently suffer from cardiovascular problems.
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Claes Ohlsson, Senior Physician and Professor at the Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, has used large-scale methodology for genetic analysis to identify genetic changes that increase the risk of osteoporosis. In these genetic clues, he has succeeded in identifying proteins in the body that directly increase the risk of bone fractures. As a Wallenberg Clinical Scholar, Claes Ohlsson will study these proteins in detail. How do they protect against bone fractures? Is it possible to develop a pharmaceutical that boosts their positive effects?
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Diana Karpman, Senior Physician and Professor at the Department of Clinical Sciences, Lund University, is studying the molecular mechanisms that cause kidney failure. As a Wallenberg Clinical Scholar, she will investigate whether vesicles can carry inflammatory substances to the kidneys. She will try to find substances that can stop various harmful vesicles from forming and which may inhibit the dangerous immune reaction in the kidneys. Treatments that save the kidneys can extend the life of patients by many years.
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Per Svenningsson, Deputy Chief Physician in Neurology and Professor at the Department of Clinical Neuroscience, Karolinska Institutet, studies the proteins that are central in the development of Parkinson’s disease. As a Wallenberg Clinical Scholar, he will also investigate pharmaceuticals that can potentially protect the brain cells from damage. There are currently medicines that can lessen the symptoms of the disease, but none that can stop its destructive progression.
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Miia Kivipelto, Professor at the Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, has shown that it is possible to prevent memory problems through a number of measures, including dietary changes, physical training, cognitive training and the normalization of blood pressure and blood lipids. As a Wallenberg Clinical Scholar she will, among other things, develop a platform for high-quality clinical studies of dementia. Her work also includes developing models for assessing a person’s risk of dementia, investigating which mechanisms drive the disease and how these can be counteracted through a range of measures.
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About the program:
During the program period, 2015-2025, twenty-five grants will be awarded to Sweden’s foremost clinical researchers. This amounts to SEK 600 million, with each researcher receiving SEK 15 million for a five-year period, with the potential for a five-year extension.

Wallenberg Clinical Scholars is part of the SEK 1.7 billion that the Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation is investing to boost medical research and the life sciences over a ten-year period.

Contacts:

Peter Wallenberg Jr, Chairman, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
+46 (0)8 545 017 80, kaw@kaw.se

Göran K. Hansson, Secretary General, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
+46 (0)8 673 95 00, goran.hansson@kva.se

Göran Sandberg, Executive Director, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation
+46 (0)8 545 017 80, kaw@kaw.se

Hans Reuterskiöld, Press Officer, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences,
+46 (0)70 673 96 50, hans.reuterskiold@kva.se

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