Randall J. Bateman, MD, the Charles F. and Joanne Knight Distinguished Professor of Neurology at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, has been awarded the Potamkin Prize for Research in Pick’s, Alzheimer’s, and Related Diseases. He will receive the award May 6 at the American Academy of Neurology’s annual meeting in Philadelphia.
Sometimes referred to as the Nobel Prize of Alzheimer’s research, the Potamkin Prize is an internationally recognized tribute to researchers who have made major contributions to the understanding of the causes of Pick’s, Alzheimer’s and related dementias, and who have advanced efforts to prevent, treat and cure such diseases.
“I am honored and humbled to receive the Potamkin Prize,” Bateman said. “Generations of investigators have laid the groundwork for so much of what we now understand about Alzheimer’s disease, enabling us to now detect it with simple blood tests and attempt to prevent the disease from causing brain damage. The years of participation and volunteering by patients and family members have provided key insights into how Alzheimer’s disease begins and progresses, enabling us to now attempt to slow or even stop the disease.”
Bateman has spent more than two decades studying Alzheimer’s at the laboratory bench and the bedside. He created a highly precise blood test that can detect Alzheimer’s disease in its earliest stages by measuring levels of the protein amyloid beta. Plaques of amyloid beta begin to collect in the brain 15 to 20 years before symptoms arise and play a key role in the development of Alzheimer’s. While it is not yet available for clinical use, a blood test for amyloid would be less expensive and easier to administer than the current methods of detecting the protein: a PET scan of the brain or a spinal tap to detect amyloid in the spinal fluid.