Harvard Scientist Awarded National MS Society’s Barancik Prize for Work in MS

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by Vanessa Pataia |

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Harvard professor and scientist Francisco Quintana, PhD, has been awarded the 2019 Barancik Prize for Innovation in MS Research for his work in understanding what causes multiple sclerosis (MS), and how to stop its development.

Quintana has developed innovative research programs that use cutting-edge technology to help understand the immune responses in people with MS, and identify new biomarkers (measurable characteristics of a condition) and therapies for MS.

One of his research programs is focused on the interaction between genetics and the environment around an individual. Quintana’s research team is trying to understand how these interactions affect the inflammation that occurs in the central nervous system (CNS; brain and spinal cord) of people with MS.

New interactions have been discovered that are involved in the chronic inflammation of the CNS and lead to the progression of MS. These data can be used as a guide to identify and study environmental factors that play a role in the development of MS and other disorders.

“Professor Quintana collaborates on a global scale to apply creative approaches to very complex questions about what triggers brain inflammation in multiple sclerosis, and to find ways to stop it,” Bruce Bebo, PhD, executive vice president of the National MS Society, said in a press release.

The Barancik Prize, awarded by the National MS Society, recognizes and supports scientific research that is exceptional and innovative in the field of MS. It seeks to encourage research that has the potential to lead to the identification of new tools for the treatment and cure of the disease, and acknowledge scientific accomplishments worthy of recognition as a future leader in MS research.

“[Quintana] has earned the Barancik Prize for being highly resourceful in applying advanced technologies to make progress toward developing new treatment approaches, especially for progressive forms of MS,” Bebo said.

This international prize awards $100,000 to the recipient, made possible by the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation.

“I am deeply honored to be selected for the Barancik Prize, and thank the Award Committee for recognizing our work,” Quintana said.

Quintana is a professor of neurology at the Ann Romney Center for Neurologic Diseases at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, an associate member of the Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT, and incoming president of the International Society of Neuroimmunology.

He will receive the award and give the Barancik Prize lecture at the Americas Committee for Treatment and Research in Multiple Sclerosis (ACTRIMS) Forum on Feb. 27 in West Palm Beach, Florida.

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