Martin Samuels Obituary, Death – Neurology Dr. Martin Samuels, who died earlier this week, spent a considerable chunk of his career as a professor at Harvard Medical School. He was also a previous recipient of the American Academy of Neurology’s A.B. Baker Award for Lifetime Achievement in Neurologic Education. During this sad time, our thoughts and prayers are with Dr. Samuels’ family and friends. A Belgian researcher named Peter Carmeliet, MD, PhD, is among those being recognized here today.
He is the current laureate of the Sheila Essey Award for ALS Research, one of the honors presented. Dr. Carmeliet, who is currently the Adjunct Director of the Center for Transgene Technology and Gene Therapy at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, has been studying the role of vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) in motoneuron degeneration since the early 1990s. VEGF is an abbreviation for vascular endothelial growth factor.
When the protein VEGF is present in the tissue, it is responsible for the enhanced development of new blood vessels in oxygen-deprived tissue. Using gene therapy on ALS mice models, he was able to demonstrate that VEGF slows the process of motoneuron degeneration and delays the beginning of the illness. This was accomplished by postponing the onset of the condition. As a result of this achievement, he has received numerous honors and honorary lectureships, the most prominent of which was the Nobel Forum Lecture, which took place in 2002.