The 4th Awards Term
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The topics of the 4th term, 2006-2005 were selected to be for Grand Hamdan International Award - Molecular and Cellular Pathology of Neurological Disorders, and for Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence - Biology of Aging, Cytokines in Pathogenesis & Therapy of Diseases, Pathogenesis of Hypertension.


Molecular and Cellular Pathology of Neurological Disorders

Neurological disorders are more prominent today than at perhaps any other time in history.  Neurological disorders affect the central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, and the autonomic nervous system.  Major conditions include: Headache, coma, dementia (including Alzheimer’s disease), epilepsy, sleep disorders, cerebral pasy, neoplasms, movement disorders (such as Parkinson’s disease), demyelinating diseases, spinal cord disorders, and disorders of peripheral nerves, muscle and neuromuscular junctions.  Many mental illnesses are believed to be neurological disorders of the central nervous system, but they are classified separately. They are not traditionally listed as neurological diseases because their causes are not definitely determined as biological, although there are good reasons to suspect that bipolar disorder and schizophrenia have neuro-chemical causes.  Scientists use the tools of molecular biology, biochemistry and cell biology to probe into and advance in understanding the processes, which underlie neurological disorders

Biology of Aging

Biology of Aging comprises a group of irreversible biological changes that occur in all living things with the passage of time eventually resulting in death.  There is a growing awareness that age-related deterioration will affect an ever growing number of people, in both absolute and relative terms.  The process of aging is genetically determined and environmentally modulated.  Advances in molecular biology have provided new insights into the process of aging at the cellular level with the aim to identify genes involved in multi factorial diseases of the old and in longevity. 

Whenever the mechanisms of senescence and death may be more completely understood, there might be a chance to prevent and/or delay many of the adverse effects associated with aging, including most of the common diseases, and possibly also of extending lifespan.

Cytokines in Pathogenesis & Therapy of Diseases

Infected cells of the immune system produce cytokines and other molecules to signal adjacent uninfected cells to mount their defenses to impair the growth of invading pathogens.  Cytokines are soluble components and critical to a myriad of fundamental homeostatic and path physiological processes such as fever, wound healing, inflammation, tissue repair and fibrosis. They play important roles in regulating cell function such as proliferation, migration, and matrix synthesis.  Accumulating evidence implicates inflammatory processes in the development of a number of neurodegenerative diseases and demonstrates that neurons can be a source of various cytokines, which are believed to be involved in neuropathy, and therefore can serve as targets for therapeutic treatment.  The use of recombinant cytokines mobilizes innate and acquired immunity.  The use of cytokines does also improve the bactericidal efficiency of certain antibiotics, could promote improved healing, and cardiac remodeling post myocardial infarction.

Pathogenesis of Hypertension

Hypertension (high blood pressure) is defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90 mmHg.  The end organ manifestations of hypertension are striking and include higher rates of stroke, significantly increased renal disease including end-stage renal disease requiring dialysis, higher risk of ventricular hypertrophy, and an associated higher risk of heart failure.  The cause of these more aggressive end organ phenomena is likely multi factorial and includes a mix of genetic and environmental influences.  A clearer understanding of the pathogenesis of hypertension will probably lead to more highly targeted therapies and to greater reduction in hypertension-related cardiovascular disease morbidity that can be achieved with current empirical treatment.