Professor Tom Foltynie (above left) with Tom Isaacs

The Cure Parkinson’s Trust (CPT) and the Van Andel Research Institute (VARI) are proud to announce Professor Tom Foltynie, Consultant Neurologist and Researcher at University College, London, as the inaugural winner of The Tom Isaacs Award. The Award was presented today at the annual Grand Challenges in Parkinson’s conference and Rallying to the Challenge meeting held at VARI, Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Set up in memory of Tom Isaacs, the late co-founder and president of CPT, this new Award recognises a researcher who has shown the greatest impact on the lives of people living with Parkinson’s and has involved people with Parkinson’s in a participatory way in their work. Presented jointly by CPT and VARI, the Award also seeks to recognise Tom Isaacs’ vision that a cure for Parkinson’s will be found and that greater value is gained from working with people with Parkinson’s in this quest.

Professor Foltynie managed to convert Tom Isaacs's dream into reality.

said Professor Patrik Brundin, Associate Director of Research at VARI. “By conducting two clinical trials with the anti-diabetic agent exenatide in Parkinson’s disease - both yielding exciting and promising results - Professor Foltynie showed that the idea of drug repositioning is viable. As a result of his dedication they have shown that a therapy that slows Parkinson’s disease may be within reach. It is really quite a remarkable achievement and could end up being a milestone in the history of Parkinson’s.”

CPT has worked closely with Professor Foltynie over many years, he sits on both our Research Committee and our Linked Clinical Trials Committee. Professor Foltynie also appeared in CPT’s BBC Lifeline Appeal and BBC Radio 2’s Jeremy Vine show earlier this year.

Professor Tom Foltynie is a truly fantastic first recipient of this award. His research to investigate whether GLP-1 diabetes treatments could be valuable to treat Parkinson’s is so relevant and important. His understanding of the value of involving people living with Parkinson’s in designing trials with this class of drugs has been truly inspirational.

Helen Matthews, Chief Operating Officer, CPT.

The Tom Isaacs Award will be presented annually and further details about the 2018 Award will be published on our website next year.