Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc
The Pro-ACT team has demonstrated that they are forward-thinking innovators working endlessly to find the cure for ALS and we look forward to the progress that they will surely continue to make.
Director, Healey Center for ALS at Mass General
BOSTON—The Sean M. Healey & AMG Center for ALS at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) awarded the third annual Healey Center International Prize for Innovation in ALS to the team responsible for the conception, construction, dissemination, and maintenance of the PRO-ACT database that has enabled the new field of ALS predictive analytics. The Pro-ACT team includes Mr. Avichai Kremer of The ALS Association, Dr. Melanie Leitner of Accelerating NeuroVentures, LLC, Dr. Neta Zach of Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and Mr. Alexander Sherman, MS of the Neurological Clinical Research Institute, Department of Neurology, Massachusetts General Hospital. The award was virtually presented to the team during the 32nd International Symposium on ALS/MND by Merit Cudkowicz, MD, MSc, director of the Healey & AMG Center at Mass General and Regan Healey.
The selection committee consisting of ALS scientists unanimously agreed that Pro-ACT is the most deserving recipient of the 2021 award. The committee recognizes the team’s excellence in research and their efforts that catalyzed exceptional discoveries leading to a transformative advance in therapy development in ALS, collectively making a tremendous impact in ALS.
“The Pro-ACT team has demonstrated that they are forward-thinking innovators working endlessly to find the cure for ALS and we look forward to the progress that they will surely continue to make. Their vision for Pro-ACT demonstrates the power and value of collaboration and data sharing,” said Cudkowicz, who is also chief of Department of Neurology at MGH.
"This award is incredibly meaningful to me as it recognizes something I have always believed: although it is usually far from the spotlight, and often invisible, a key driver of innovation is research infrastructure," says Dr. Melanie Leitner of the Pro-ACT Team.
Zach, a member of the Pro-ACT Team said, “The award means to me that we were able to develop something that brought together new mind, new ideas and new solutions for ALS.”
“Winning the Healey Prize is extra meaningful to me,” said Kremer. “First, it proves that ALS patients can advance research, which was my goal when founding Prize4Life. Second, it means a lot to me personally. I have two daughters, who were born long after my diagnosis. All they know is a completely paralyzed dad, who can’t speak, and is limited in numerous ways. Now they see that their father can make a difference for millions of people, and I am extremely grateful for the prize committee for that.”
“It is fascinating and gratifying to be part of PRO-ACT from its initiation to implementation to realization of its impact on the field of ALS predictive analytics and beyond,” said Sherman. “I am immensely thankful to the project’s sponsors, data donors and supporters, to my team that made this project a reality, and to thousands of people with ALS who courageously participated and are participating in clinical trials.”
The annual Healey Center International Prize for Innovation in ALS is a global prize celebrating excellence in research for a team of investigators who catalyze exceptional discoveries leading to a transformative advance in therapy development in ALS. To learn more about this $50,000 USD prize and how to nominate a team, click here.
“The PRO-ACT Database highlights the importance of technology as critical component in the battle against ALS,” said Regan Healey, sister of Sean M. Healey. “The team’s work epitomizes the mission of the Healey Center: to move faster and press forward in the fight.”
For more information about the Sean M. Healey and AMG Center for ALS, please visit the website.