Franklin works at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell InstituteMS Society UK

Professor Robin Franklin has won the 2017 Barancik Prize for Innovation for his research into multiple sclerosis, which could offer a means of halting the progression of the disease.

Franklin, a Professor of Stem Cell Medicine at the Wellcome Trust-MRC Cambridge Stem Cell Institute, was recognised for his research into how the coating of nerve fibres, called the myelin sheath, regenerates. It is hoped that his research could lead to the development of techniques to protect and even repair the nervous system of people suffering nerve damage as a result of multiple sclerosis, halting the progression of the disease.

Multiple sclerosis is a potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system, which disrupts the flow of information within the brain, and between the brain and body. Eventually, the disease can cause the nerves themselves to deteriorate or become permanently damaged. Symptoms can range from numbness or weakness in one or more limbs to fatigue, dizziness and partial or complete loss of vision. The severity of symptoms depends on the extent of the nerve damage.


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There is, at present, no cure for the disease, and the treatments available currently aim to speed recovery from attacks and minimise symptoms.

The Barancik Prize for Innovation in Multiple Sclerosis Research recognises a scientist or a team of scientists whose work in MS research has demonstrated outstanding innovation and originality. It includes a cash award of US$100,000, or £74,889, to be used at the discretion of the recipient, funded by the Charles and Margery Barancik Foundation.

“I am absolutely delighted and deeply honored to have been chosen to receive the Barancik Prize,” Franklin said. “I am interested in how tissues naturally regenerate, and identifying ways to stimulate those mechanisms to assist myelin regeneration in MS. This could both prevent further damage to axons and restore function, which would be particularly important for people living with progressive MS.”