Today (16 November 2016) at 13.30 hrs., Professor Dr. Prasit Watanapa, Dean of the Faculty of Medicine Siriraj Hospital, Mahidol University, in the capacity of Vice President of the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, Mr.Sek Wannamethee, Director-General of the Department of Information, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in the capacity of the Chairman of the Sub-Committee on Public Relations of the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, and Professor Vicharn Panich, Chairman of the International Award Committee of the Prince Mahidol Award Foundation, held a press conference to announce the 25th Prince Mahidol Award for the year 2016 at the Prince Mahidol Memorial Room, 2nd Floor, Syamindra Building, Siriraj Hospital.
The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation of which H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn is the President, has decided to confer Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Medicine to Sir Gregory Paul Winter from the United Kingdom. In the field of Public Health, the Prince Mahidol Award is conferred to Professor Vladimir Hachinski from Canada.
There are 59 nominations from 24 countries in total. The Scientific Advisory Committee carefully screened all candidates from the year 2016, 2015, 2014 and then submitted a short list of the candidates to the International Award Committee who scrutinized and made a recommendation to the Board of Trustees. H.R.H. Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn presided over the meeting of the Board of Trustees on 31 October 2016 in which the final decision on the Prince Mahidol Award 2016 was made.
In the past 25 years, 72 individuals, groups of individuals, and institutions had received the Prince Mahidol Award. Among them, 4 subsequently received the Nobel Prize. More importantly, 2 of the most the recent Nobel Prize (2015) laureates in physiology or medicine were conferred the Prince Mahidol Award prior to their continual prestigious recognition:
- Professor Dr. Satoshi Omura was conferred the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Medicine in 1997. He is known for the discovery and development of various pharmaceuticals originally occurring in microorganisms. His research group isolated a strain of Streptomyces avermitilis that produce the anti-parasitical compound avermectin—which contributed to the development of the drug ivermectin that is today used against river blindness, lymphatic filariasis and other parasitic infections.
- Professor Tu You You, a member of The China Cooperative Research Group on Qinghaosu and its Derivatives as Antimalarials, was conferred the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Medicine in 2003 as an organizational category—for the discovery of qinghaosu as a new drug for treatment of the P.falciparum malaria.
Honorable Mention of the Prince Mahidol Award Laureates, who later received further recognition:
- Professor Barry J. Marshall from Australia was conferred the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Public Health in 2001 for the discovery of the new bacterium indentified as Helicobacter pylori that caused severe gastritis, and its sensitivity to particular antibacterial drugs. He later received the Nobel Prize in the field of Medicine in 2005 for the same discovery.
- Professor Harald Zur Hausen from Germany was conferred the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Medicine in 2005 for the discovery of the virus, namely human papilloma virus HPV16 and HPV18, from the cancer tissue and elucidated the mechanism that the viruses turn the normal cell into cancer cells. He later received the Nobel Prize in the field of Medicine in 2008 for the same discovery.
- Dr. Margaret F.C. Chan, the Director-General of the World Health Organization, was conferred the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Public Health in 2006 for her various preventive and promotive health campaigns and risk managements launched in various scales, locations.
Honorable Mention of the Thai laureates of the Prince Mahidol Award:
- Professor Dr. Prasong Tuchinda was conferred the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Medicine in 1996. His research works have formed the basis for further investigations and development of dengue vaccine for the prevention and control of dengue hemorrhagic fever in Thailand as well as in Southeast Asian countries in the future.
- Dr. Suchitra Nimmannitya was conferred the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Public Health in 1996. Dr. Nimmannitya has developed guidelines for management. Both clinical diagnostic criteria and regimen of management of DHF which she has developed and used at the Children's Hospital have been adopted as recommendations by the World Health Organization (WHO) since 1974 and are now widely used in areas where DHF is present.
- Dr. Wiwat Rojanapithayakorn was conferred the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Public Health in 2009. While serving as Director, Office of Communicable Disease Control Region 4 in Ratchaburi, Thailand in 1989, initiated the “100% Condom Use Programme” which has been recognized worldwide as one the most successful HIV/AIDS prevention tools.
- Mr. Mechai Viravaidya was conferred the Prince Mahidol Award in the field of Public Health in 2009. He founded the Community-based Family Planning Services in 1974, currently known as the Population and Community Development Association (PDA). His tireless proponent of the use of condom to prevent pregnancy through the unique communication campaigns has demystified condoms, previously the taboo subject and unspoken issue in the public to become commonly-use item.
The Prince Mahidol Award Foundation under the Royal Patronage was established in commemoration of the centenary of the birth of His Royal Highness Prince Mahidol of Songkla, on 1 January 1992. The Foundation is under the Royal Patronage, with Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn as President. The Foundation annually confers two Prince Mahidol Awards upon individual(s) or institution(s), which have demonstrated outstanding and exemplary contributions to the advancement of the world’s medical and public health services. Each Award consists of a medal, a certificate and a sum of US $100,000.
Her Royal Highness Princess Maha Chakri Sirindhorn will preside over the Presentation Ceremony of the Prince Mahidol Award 2016 at the Chakri Throne hall on 31 January 2017 at 17.30 hours. Prior to the Ceremony, Siriraj Hospital, as a founder of the Prince Mahidol Award, will invite the 2016 Prince Mahidol Award Laureates to give lectures based on their achievement on 30 January 2017.
Prince Mahidol Award Laureate 2016
in the Field of Medicine
Sir Gregory Paul Winter
Master of Trinity College
University of Cambridge
For development of Humanized Therapeutic Antibody Technology
Sir Gregory Paul Winter is one of the world's leading scientists who was a pioneer in the field of antibody engineering and modification technology. He invented techniques to humanize antibodies for therapeutic uses, which later led to the creation of cutting-edge therapeutic drugs. The drugs are now widely used in clinical disease treatment.
Antibodies, in the past, could not be used to treat humans as they were produced from hybridoma, a cell extracted from laboratory animals which human body rejected. Sir Gregory developed techniques to genetically alter the molecules of those antibodies so that they were compatible with human immune system when injected into human body. These newly developed antibodies were called “Humanized Therapeutic Antibody” The advances in the use of humanized antibodies as therapeutic drugs have provided new ways to prevent and treat several diseases, including immune disorders, degenerative diseases, and different types of cancer.
There are now more than 50 new antibody-based drugs in clinical use. Adalimumab, for example, is used to treat inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn’s disease, and plaque psoriasis. The drug is now reported to be the top selling drug in the world. Another example is Belimumab, which is used for the treatment of chronic lupus - a life-threatening auto-immune disease. It is the first new drug for lupus in 50 years. At the current rate, 3-5 new therapeutic antibodies are being approved each year. The application of therapeutic antibodies ranges from treatment of illnesses in small group of people such as paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria to illnesses of million patients such as cancers, multiple scleroses, asthma, and rheumatoid arthritis.
Sir Gregory Paul Winter graduated from Trinity College, University of Cambridge in 1973 and obtained his PhD in 1976. He was Joint Head of Division of Protein and Nucleic Acids Chemistry of the Medical Research Council Laboratory of Molecular Biology (LMB) and Deputy Director of the MRC Center for Protein Engineering. He is one of the most successful academic entrepreneurs by establishing biotech companies; Cambridge Antibody Technology, Domantis and Bicycle Therapeutics, which is worth over ?930 million. His current position is the master of Trinity College, University of Cambridge.
Prince Mahidol Award Laureate 2016
in the Field of Public Health
Professor Vladimir Hachinski
Distinguished University Professor,
University of Western Ontario, Canada
Professor Vladimir Hachinski is the world’s leading doctor with specialization in stroke and vascular dementia. He has made major contributions for the fight against these two greatest threats to human brain. His contributions to medicine in the areas of vascular cognitive impairment, stroke, and brain-heart interactions help save and improve million of lives by delaying and/or preventing cerebrovascular disease and cognitive decline.
Professor Hachinski, along with John W. Norris, established Maclachlan Stroke Unit, Canada’s first acute stroke unit. The Unit proved to be the most effective way to treat stroke patients of all ages, severities and types. Professor Hachinski also coined the term “brain attack” to create the sense of emergency for stroke and stroke warning symptoms. The term is used globally, and hence helps urge patients who would otherwise have ignored their symptoms to get to hospital in time for disability sparing treatment. The practices initiated by Professor Hachinski were so successful that they have now become the standard of healthcare worldwide. Apart from that, Professor Hachinski also took lead in the proclamation of World Stroke Day (Oct 29th) in order to raise public awareness on stroke prevention and early treatment.
Professor Hachinski is the neuroscientist beyond the discovery of the relationship between brain insula and cardiac complications, which helps explain the cause of sudden death following acute stroke. He coined the term “multi-infarct dementia” and “leuko-araiosis”, and introduced the Hachinski Ischemic Scale, one of the most widely used clinical tools for the distinguishment between degenerative dementia (e.g. Alzheimer disease and senile dementia) and multi-infarct dementia. The discoveries of the relationship among stroke, degenerative dementia, and multi-infarct dementia have opened a new frontier for the treatment and prevention of the diseases.
Professor Hachinski was President of the World Federation of Neurology (WFN) from 2010-2013. As President, he attached high importance to stroke and Alzheimer’s disease since both together accounted for 2/3 of the disability-adjusted life years (DALY) lost due to brain diseases. He also introduced dementia prevention strategy by encouraging stroke prevention as both share common treatable risk factors.
Professor Hachinski is accomplishment in the identification and treatment of the vascular causes and factors in mental diseases offers promising ways to prevent vascular cognitive impairment and to delay dementia (e.g. Alzheimer’s disease), which has resulted in countless more individuals surviving from the diseases worldwide.