The "Acadèmia de Ciències Mèdiques" (Academy of Medical Sciences) confers the Josep Trueta prize to research on Lafora disease performed by Joan J. Guinovart’s lab
An article by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona) on the molecular mechanisms of Lafora disease, published in the scientific Journal Nature Neuroscience in October 2007, has received the Josep Trueta prize for the best research. This prize has been awarded by the "Academy of Medical and Health Sciences of Catalonia and the Balearic Isles". In an act held yesterday afternoon in the head offices of the Academy, in Barcelona, the Minister of Health of the Government of Catalonia, Marina Geli, presented the award to the director of IRB Barcelona and head of the study, Joan J. Guinovart.
The Academy has given the prize to the article entitled "Mechanism suppressing glycogen synthesis in neurons and its demise in progressive myoclonus epilepsy" for its contribution to elucidating the pathogeny of Lafora disease and to discovering a new mechanism of neuronal lesion. In the study, undertaken by the Metabolic Engineering and Diabetes Lab, the authors demonstrate that the excess of glucose chains (glycogen) induces neuronal death and is the cause of Lafora disease, a lethal kind of epilepsy that affects adolescents. This mechanism, unknown until now, could be a key to understanding other neurodegenerative diseases. The article has deserved comment in Nature Clinical Practice Neurology and in the News and Views section of Nature Neuroscience.
The following researchers participated in this study: David Vilchez (first author), Susana Ros, Daniel Cifuentes, Lluís Pujadas, Jordi Vallès, Belén García, Olga Criado, Elena Fernández, Iria Medraño, Jorge Domínguez, Mar García, Eduardo Soriano, Santiago Rodríguez de Córdoba and Joan J. Guinovart.
Founded in 1872 as a private foundation, the Academy seeks to further health sciences from primary care, teaching and research perspectives. It is the largest medical guild in Catalonia and the Balearic Isles with regards the number of members, societies and associations that it comprises and the volume of scientific activities undertaken each year.