Cedars-Sinai Researcher Receives AAN’s Sheila Essey Award–An Award for ALS Research

TORONTO – The American Academy of Neurology (AAN) is awarding the 2010 Sheila Essey Award–An Award for ALS Research to Clive Svendsen, PhD, with the Cedars-Sinai Regenerative Medicine Institute in Los Angeles, CA. Svendsen will receive the award during the AAN’s 62nd Annual Meeting in Toronto, held April 10 through April 17, 2010. The Essey Award recognizes individuals who have made significant research contributions in the search for the cause, prevention of, and cure for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. The $25,000 prize is to be used toward continuing ALS research. ALS is a motor neuron disease which is characterized by the gradual degeneration and death of motor neurons. Both the upper motor neurons and the lower motor neurons are affected in ALS. Svendsen’s research focuses on adult stem cells from people with motor neuron diseases that can be reprogrammed to a more primitive state, and then developed into new motor neurons that undergo the disease process again. In addition, he is working to generate stem cells that can replace support cells in people and subsequently protect their motor neurons from dying. The support cells are also modified to release powerful growth factors that may further slow the disease. Svendsen is working with the federal government to translate his research into a clinical trial for ALS patients. “Through a greater understanding of how motor neuron diseases happen we may be able to generate new drugs,” says Svendsen. “Our stem cell transplant studies may have direct benefit to patients with ALS in the future.” Svensden will give a presentation his research at the AAN Awards Plenary Session during the AAN Annual Meeting on Thursday, April 15. Sponsored by the American Academy of Neurology and the ALS Association, this award is supported through the philanthropy of the Essey family. The 62nd Annual Meeting of the AAN is world’s largest gatherings of neurologists, taking place in the Metro Toronto Convention Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 22,000 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to promoting the highest quality patient-centered neurologic care. A neurologist is a doctor with specialized training in diagnosing, treating and managing disorders of the brain and nervous system such as Alzheimer’s disease, migraine, stroke, Parkinson’s disease, ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease) and multiple sclerosis. For more information about the American Academy of Neurology, visit


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