Public Release: 

Alzheimer's vaccine developer awarded Potamkin Prize

American Academy of Neurology

ST. PAUL, MN (April 27, 2001) -- Dale Schenk, Ph.D, a researcher whose work in developing a vaccine for treating Alzheimer's disease is now undergoing clinical trials, has been named this year's winner of the Potamkin Prize. The Potamkin Prize, presented by the American Academy of Neurology, is an internationally recognized award for scientists who have made a significant contribution to the prevention or treatment of Pick's, Alzheimer's and related diseases.

Schenk will accept the award at noon on Tuesday, May 8, during the AAN's annual meeting in Philadelphia. At 2 p.m. on May 8, he will present his research at a scientific session at the annual meeting. The $100,000 annual prize, now in its 14th year, is funded through the philanthropy of the Potamkin family of New York, Philadelphia and Miami.

Schenk is senior vice president, discovery research at Elan Corporation, South San Francisco. He has been involved in Alzheimer's disease-related research at Elan for 13 years and has made numerous contributions to the medical community's understanding of the disease. His use of the transgenic mouse model to develop immunization therapy for Alzheimer's disease is considered a quantum leap toward an effective new treatment for Alzheimer's. Schenk has shown that immunizing mice with the same amyloid protein present in the plaques seen in the Alzheimer's affected brain prevented further amyloid accumulation and in fact, reversed it.

Commenting on the award, Schenk said, "I am delighted to receive the Potamkin Prize, a milestone in my career and an honor I share with my fellow researchers at Elan. I would like to thank the Potamkin family and the American Academy of Neurology for their support and encouragement. It is my hope that continued research will lead to meaningful treatments for the Alzheimer's disease community."

According to Roger Rosenberg, MD, a former president of the American Academy of Neurology, the vaccine is effective in the transgenic mouse and may have a chance for success in humans as a therapy against Alzheimer's disease.

"We must proceed with caution and with a sense of critical assessment as the transgenic mouse model approximates but does not exactly mirror what occurs in humans," according to Rosenberg. "Dr. Schenk's research is an incentive and a catalyst to develop possible vaccination therapy for Alzheimer's disease and has a good chance on theoretical grounds to be effective in patients."

"The AAN is pleased to recognize this research for the quantum leap in thinking and implementation that it provides," said Rosenberg.

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The American Academy of Neurology, an association of more than 17,500 neurologists and neuroscience professionals, is dedicated to improving patient care through education and research. Its annual meeting typically draws about 8,000 attendees.

Contact: Kathy Stone, 651-695-2763
May 5-11, 2001, call 215-418-2420
E-mail: kstone@aan.com

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