OHSU

Investigator Receives Prestigious $3.7 Million Neuroscience Award

04/17/02   Portland, Ore.

Edward A. Neuwelt, M.D., professor of neurosurgery and neurology in the Oregon Health & Science University School of Medicine and the Portland Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and director of OHSU's Blood-Brain Barrier Program, has been awarded a unique, $3.7 million Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award - named in honor of the late U.S. Sen. Jacob Javits of New York - from the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a component of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). These research dollars will be used to fund continued research into Neuwelt's groundbreaking approach to opening the brain's natural barrier to foreign agents for the delivery of chemotherapy drugs to brain tumors.

"As a colleague, friend and fellow supporter of biomedical research, Sen. Jacob Javits earned the highest reputation in his long public service career," said former U.S. Sen. Mark O. Hatfield. "I was delighted to know this award was established to honor him and doubly pleased that it has now acknowledged the extraordinary work of Dr. Ed Neuwelt and his research team. This brings added prestige to OHSU and Oregon."

Javits awardees are hand-selected by NINDS staff - on the recommendations of the National Advisory Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NANDS) Council - from among countless regular grant renewal submissions. They are presented to researchers with an established record of distinguished contributions to the field of neurological science with expected productivity that could provide additional advancement in the field. To recognize the accomplishments and promise of the recipient's work, the awards extend research funding to seven years, well beyond the customary four-year grant awards.

"In recognition of Dr. Neuwelt's significant contributions to our understanding of the blood-brain barrier and continued progress toward innovative strategies for treating CNS (central nervous system) tumors, the NINDS has enthusiastically awarded Dr. Neuwelt the Javits award," said Thomas P. Jacobs, Ph.D., NINDS program director for stroke, imaging and CNS tumors. "One of Dr. Neuwelt's great strengths is his extensive experience in translating basic science investigations to the treatment of human disease. His creative approaches provide a perspective that complements and challenges the prevailing concepts for treating malignant brain tumors."

Neuwelt's groundbreaking research into the blood-brain barrier has been federally funded for 22 years. In the 1980s Neuwelt pioneered a unique method by which to administer chemotherapy to brain tumors. By temporarily disrupting the blood-brain barrier, Neuwelt discovered that he could more effectively target and administer chemotherapy to tumors. Since its creation, OHSU's Blood-Brain Barrier Program has treated more than 505 patients and performed more than 5,890 blood-brain barrier disruptions.

In its summary statement, the NANDS Council concluded that Neuwelt's "research is highly innovative and is being performed by one of the world's foremost authorities on the blood brain barrier and CNS delivery of chemotherapeutics." Furthermore, the committee felt that "this (was) very important work," the findings of which they felt would "contribute significantly to the field of therapeutic agents" for the treatment of CNS metastases.

The Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award was established by Congress in 1983 in honor of Sen. Jacob Javits, who for several years was a victim of amytrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a degenerative neurological disorder also known as Lou Gherig's disease. Sen. Javits was a staunch advocate for research into a wide variety of brain and nervous system disorders. The Javits Neuroscience Investigator Award is given to scientists who have demonstrated exceptional scientific excellence and productivity in areas of neurological research supported by NINDS.

Researchers cannot apply for this award. Rather, submissions are hand-picked by the NANDS Council based on an investigator's documented history of successful outcomes and anticipated future performance.

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