At the Dutch Medicines Days (DMD), the Galen awards have been presented. Led by a jury, these awards are presented anually to one researcher and one drug that is the most innovative and meaningful. This year’s best researcher was Tom Würdinger, PhD of the neuro-oncology group at the VUmc, Amsterdam. The award for the best drug went to Kalydeco from Vertex, a compound indicated for cystic fibrosis (CF).
This year’s Galen awards, presented by prof. Paul Smits, dean and vice president of the board of Radboudumc, were characterised by the debate on personalised medicine, a hot topic at the DMD. The award for the best researcher was won by Tom Würdinger, PhD, member of the neuro-oncology group at the VUmc, Amsterdam. Because of his fundamental and translational research in the field of primary glioma, the jury described him as “an exceptionally talented scientist”.
The award for this year’s best drug was presented to Kalydeco ™ (ivacaftor) by Vertex. Since 1998, this company has been cooperating with the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and aims to make treatment accessible for patients suffering from CF. Kalydeco ™ is a drug that can truly be called innovative – it is the first drug designed to interact with the underlying cause of the disease. In healthy people, CFTR channels transport chloride ions. However, in patients suffering from CF, these channels remain closed. Kalydeco ™ opens these channels so that chloride ions can be transported again. Because of this, patients regain long function and sinuses are opened. According to the jury, Kalydeco ™ distinguished itself from other drugs because of its rational concept that is mechanism as well as evidence based. This makes it “a perfect example of personalised medicine”.
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