Third Award this Year Honors His Work in Treating Parkinson’s Disease and Highlights Research at Clinatec to Treat Neurological Disorders
Prof. Alim-Louis Benabid, board chairman of Clinatec - The Edmond J. Safra Biomedical Research Center, received the Lifetime Achievement award on Dec. 13 from the North American Neuromodulation Society (NANS) for his work in developing deep brain stimulation to relieve symptoms in Parkinson’s disease patients.
NANS presents the award to individuals who its board of directors feels have made significant and lasting contributions to the field of neuromodulation. Recipients usually have developed a new medical technique or contributed significant research in the field.
Neuromodulation includes treatments that involve the stimulation of various nerves in the central nervous system, peripheral nervous system, autonomic nervous system, or deep cell nuclei of the brain that lead to the “modulation” of its activity. It is a therapeutic alteration of activity either through stimulation or medication, both of which are introduced by implanted devices.
“The Lifetime Achievement Award from NANS is a special honor for me, because the society’s members are North America’s best and most dedicated physicians, surgeons and specialists in the rapidly growing field of neuromodulation,” Benabid said. “NANS, which uses a multi-disciplinary approach like Clinatec, is a major force in developing reversible neuromodulation treatments for a wide variety of diseases and debilitating problems in the nervous system, and bringing relief to countless patients.”
The society’s members include physicians and surgeons in a variety of fields as well as scientists and experts in areas such as anatomy, neuroscience, pharmacology and psychology.
The award also highlights ongoing research at Clinatec that is exploring ways to use deep brain stimulation and other neurological disorder treatments to overcome therapeutic deadlocks and improve diagnosis and treatment to fight neurodegenerative diseases, cancers and motor disabilities.
The NANS award was presented to Benabid, a member of the French Académie des Sciences, on Dec. 13 at the society’s annual meeting in Las Vegas, Nev. It is the third major award that Benabid, who founded Clinatec, has received for his PD work this year.
In September, he received the 2014 Lasker~DeBakey Clinical Medical Research Award from the Albert and Mary Lasker Foundation in New York City, along with Dr. Mahlon R. DeLong, professor of neurology at Emory University School of Medicine. He also received the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences in October for his work in developing high-frequency deep brain stimulation of the subthalamic nucleus, a surgical technique that reduces tremors and restores motor function in patients with advanced Parkinson’s disease (PD).
Working as a neurosurgeon at Université Joseph Fourier in Grenoble, France, Benabid developed a reversible surgical technique that applied low electrical current at high frequency to the thalamic area to relieve shaking in PD patients. As head of neurosurgery at the University Hospital of Grenoble, he devised a technique that also stimulates the subthalamic nucleus, which relieves slow movement and stiffness in PD patients.