Dr. Lipton is being honored for his "trailblazing research in the field of neuroscience and its diagnostic and therapeutic consequences". The award recognizes a series of discoveries from Dr. Lipton's laboratory, which has led to the development of a new paradigm for treating stroke and neurodegenerative diseases based on "neuroprotection", or protecting the brain from cell death. In most neurodegenerative diseases, the brain is attacked and nerve cells wither and die by a variety of overactive signaling pathways. These pathways signal important functions under "normal" conditions. Conventional treatments act by blocking the signals completely, which also blocks their intended function. Dr. Lipton discovered ways to control the gatekeeper receptor, NMDA, and moderate the activity through these pathways.
The prototype treatment based on Dr. Lipton's concept is a drug for Alzheimer's Disease. Dr. Lipton was the first to discover a unique mechanism of action for the drug Memantine, allowing it to work only on pathological conditions and not affect "normal" behavior. This discovery led to clinical development of Memantine and its subsequent approval by the European Union and the United States' Food and Drug Administration for treatment of Alzheimer's Disease as the first neuroprotective drug.
Dr. Lipton is a graduate of Cornell University and The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. He trained as a Research Fellow in Neurobiology at Harvard Medical School where he also received his medical training and was appointed to faculty. Dr. Lipton was recruited to The Burnham Institute in 1999 as Director of the Del E. Webb Center for Neuroscience and Aging Research. Dr. Lipton has authored over 300 research articles published in peer-reviewed journals.
The Burnham Institute is an independent, nonprofit, public benefit organization dedicated to basic biomedical research principally in the areas of cancer, aging, and the neurosciences. The Institute ranks consistently among the world's most influential research organizations for the impact of its research in analyses conducted annually by the Institute for Scientific Information.