Research and Hope Awardees Are Models of Inspiration

Research and Hope Awardees Are Models of Inspiration

09.07.12 | By John Castellani

The clock is ticking as we count down the remaining days until the first ever Research and Hope Award ceremony, where we will have the privilege of honoring individuals who have made incredible sacrifices in the great battle against Alzheimer's disease.

But even before the ceremony begins, we have a lot to reflect on as all of us in the vast scientific and patient care ecosystem continue to face the enormous task of trying to understand and unravel one of the most complex diseases facing mankind.

We have all heard the stories about loved ones, friends and even neighbors with Alzheimer's who no longer recognize their spouse, who don't remember how to do simple tasks like putting on shoes or forgetting a family recipe for pancakes.

Our hearts break when we hear about the tears that have been shed by the caretakers and even the patients themselves who know their fate and are frightened that the odds are not on their side as they slowly succumb to this ruthless disease of the mind.

As each story is told, I think about what I'd do if I were in their position. I ask myself how I would handle being a caretaker myself, having to sacrifice work and every day joys in life so that I could devote the majority of my time to take care of a loved one who could no longer care of themselves. Or what I would do if I were a researcher who for over a decade worked on an Alzheimer's treatment only to find that it would never make it to the very patients who have lost the sparkle and clarity in their eyes.

There is a lot of sadness surrounding this disease. But there is also a lot of hope - hope for a treatment or cure that can help prevent, reverse or delay the onset of this devastating disease.

I know that there are a lot of doubts about what the future holds in drug discovery for Alzheimer's. But there were also a lot of doubts about what the future held for patients with the once deadly HIV/AIDS virus, cancer and even diabetes.

History has shown that despite all of the odds in drug development, success was often waiting at the end of the road. And the millions of patients who previously had no treatment options are now living with a manageable chronic disease and have more time on this earth with their loved ones because of the medicines that have been discovered.

Today, as we unveil the recipients of the Research and Hope Award, I can say that I am truly amazed and even grateful for all that the awardees have accomplished in their mission to help millions of patients living with Alzheimer's.

Each recipient has their own unique story, but they all share one common thread that I admire: exceptional commitment to improving health and making the world a better place to live. They are all helping to pave the way on the path from Hope to Cures and serve as an inspiration to all of us.

Here are the individuals we will be bestowing the Research and Hope Award to next week:

The Research and Hope Award for Academic Research in Alzheimer's:

Bradley T. Hyman, MD, PhD
Professor of Neurology
Massachusetts General Hospital/Harvard Medical School

David Holtzman, MD
Andrew B. and Gretchen P. Jones Professor and Chairman
Department of Neurology, Washington University School of Medicine

The Research and Hope Award for Biopharmaceutical Industry Research in Alzheimer's: Merck BACE Team

Eric M. Parker, PhD
Senior Director and Neuroscience Site Lead, Merck

Andrew W. Stamford, PhD
Director, Discovery Chemistry, Merck

Matthew E. Kennedy, PhD
Associate Director, Neuroscience, Merck

Mark S. Forman, MD, PhD
Director, Clinical Research, Merck

Julie A. Stone, PhD
Senior Scientific Director, Merck

The Research and Hope Award for Patient Engagement:

Kate Maslow
Institute of Medicine
Keck Center

The Research & Hope Award for Volunteer Champion:

Neha Chauhan
AFA Teens for Alzheimer's Awareness

To learn more about the awards and Alzheimer's Disease research, follow our coverage on the Catalyst all next week and check out our new website, FromHopeToCures.org.

Read more: Researchers and Patient Advocates Honored with PhRMA Award

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