Barcelona neurologist wins 2022 Dystel Prize


image: Xavier Montalban, MD, PhD, of Vall d’Hebron University Hospital and the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Catalonia in Barcelona, ​​has been chosen to receive the 2022 John Dystel Prize for MS Research for his contributions to wide scope to the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of MS.
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Credit: Courtesy of Cem-Cat

Xavier Montalban, MD, PhD, from Vall dHebron University Hospital and the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Catalonia in Barcelona have been chosen to receive the 2022 John Dystel Prize for MS Research for their far-reaching contributions to the understanding, diagnosis and treatment of MS. MS. He was a pioneer in systematically collecting data from people in the early stages of MS and over time, creating a wealth of information about the course of MS that continues to provide new insights and leads. . Montalban has conducted numerous pivotal clinical trials of disease-modifying treatments, including a trial of ocrelizumab that resulted in the first treatment approval for the treatment of people with primary progressive MS.

Montalban is Chairman of the Neurology Department and Director of the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Catalonia (Cemcat) at the Vall d’Hebron University Hospital, Head of the Neuroimmunology Research Group at the Vall d’Hebron Research Institute and Professor of neurology at Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Universitat de Vic in Barcelona, ​​Spain.

“Professor Montalban’s contributions to understanding MS, improving its diagnosis and testing breakthrough therapies have been extremely important for people with multiple sclerosis,” said Bruce Bebo, Ph.D. executive vice president of research programs at the National MS Society. , which administers the price. “For his global leadership and the impact of his work, he is well deserving of the Dystel Award.”

Montalban was the first to use early clinical and MRI data to predict long-term outcomes. His work on the natural history of MS and tracing the significance of MRI lesions in specific areas of the brain has contributed greatly to our understanding of MS, as well as to the development of McDonald’s diagnostic criteria for MS. MS, which made it possible to diagnose the disease. faster and more accurate. He and his colleagues have also developed criteria for determining whether a person’s disease-modifying therapy is working to better inform treatment switching decisions.

In support of Montalban’s nomination, former Dystel Award winner Stephen L. Hauser, MD said, “He has worked across multiple disciplines, publishing a wide variety of investigations spanning epidemiology, clinical features of MS, diagnostics, immunology, imaging, digital medicine and in particular therapeutics. By single-handedly inspiring his colleagues and in particular trainees, he transformed Barcelona into a global epicenter of MS care and neuroimmunology.

Montalban created the first MS center in Spain (the Multiple Sclerosis Center of Catalonia – Cemcat), championing a holistic approach to disease management and integrating digital approaches to better track individuals’ disease activity. Cemcat contributes to major research, high-level care and excellent training for clinicians and researchers in many countries.

“I am honored and very happy to receive this recognition for my work,” said Montalban. “It has been extremely rewarding to help advance our ability to improve the lives of people with multiple sclerosis. »

In addition to his leadership positions at Vall d’Hebron, from 2017 to 2020 Montalban also served as Professor of Medicine and Director of the Division of Neurology at the University of Toronto and Director of the MS Center at St Michael’s Hospital. He obtained a doctorate in medicine and a doctorate in neuroimmunology at the Autonomous University of Barcelona, ​​did postgraduate and clinical training at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery in London (UK) and holds a MBA from Esade Business School in Barcelona. Montalban, former president of ECTRIMS, is also a member of the European Academy of Neurology, the American Academy of Neurology and the Canadian Academy of Health Sciences. He is the author of several book chapters and hundreds of articles in peer-reviewed journals.

Montalban will receive the award and deliver the Dystel Award lecture at the 2022 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in Seattle on April 3.

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About the John Dystel Award for MS Research

The Dystel Prize is awarded jointly by the National MS Society and the American Academy of Neurology. The late Society National Council member, Oscar Dystel, and his late wife, Marion, established the award in 1994 in honor of their son, John Jay Dystel, a lawyer whose promising career was cut short by disability. progression due to MS. (John died of complications from the disease in June 2003.) Learn more about other Dystel award winners.

About the National Multiple Sclerosis Society

The National MS Society, founded in 1946, funds cutting-edge research, encourages change through advocacy, and provides programs and services to help people with MS live their best lives. Log in to learn more and participate:, Facebook, Twitter, instagram, Youtube or 1-800-344-4867.

About multiple sclerosis

Multiple sclerosis is an unpredictable and often disabling disease of the central nervous system. There is currently no cure for MS. Symptoms vary from person to person and range from numbness and tingling to mobility problems, blindness and paralysis. It is estimated that one million people live with MS in the United States. Most people are diagnosed between the ages of 20 and 50, and it affects three times more women than men.

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