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Prof Sarah Tabrizi highlights ‘tireless efforts’ of those affected by Huntington’s disease in receiving double award for her research

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Group Leader at UK DRI at UCL, Prof Sarah Tabrizi, has been awarded two separate honours for her contribution to Huntington’s disease research. Last month, Prof Tabrizi picked up the Yahr award at the World Congress of Neurology in Dubai, before collecting the Alexander Morison medal from the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (RCPE) on Tuesday (5 Nov).

Recognition of Sarah’s work follows positive results from a Phase 1/2a trial, led by herself and sponsored by Ionis Pharmaceutical, indicating that the first drug targeting the cause of the disease was safe, well-tolerated and successfully lowered the level of harmful huntingtin protein in the nervous system. With no current disease-modifying therapeutics for the condition, the development of the antisense oligonucleotide (ASO) treatment is a breakthrough not only for Huntington’s disease, but for the prospect of gene targeting therapies in the future. Listen to a recent BBC interview with Sarah here

On the two awards, Prof Sarah Tabrizi said:

“I am deeply honoured to receive these awards for my work in Huntington's disease. They are recognition of the tireless efforts of the people affected and their families, and of the colleagues I continue to work with, to find effective therapies for this devastating disease. I'm so very grateful for their support.”

Sarah Double Award

Together with the awards, Prof Tabrizi delivered inspiring lectures charting the progress made so far with the ASO trial and other techniques that may prove fruitful including RNA interference, small molecular splicing modulators and proteolysis targeting chimeras. Developments such as improvement in delivery and distribution of the drug, and objective biomarkers of disease and HTT-lowering pharmacodynamic outcomes, now place these therapies within reach, and with clinical trials underway, it appears a bright future lies ahead.

The Alexander Morison medal was previously awarded to UK DRI Group Leader Prof Nick Fox in 2018, who co-leads the Department of Neurodegenerative Disease with Sarah at UCL.

On Sarah’s award, Prof Nick Fox, added:

“It’s fantastic to see my close colleague Sarah Tabrizi get this year's Alexander Morison Medal - and an honour for me to have received the award last year.  It is a pleasure to share leadership of our department with Sarah - and to share this honour...”

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