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The 15th Endocrine Regulations Prize of the Fondation IPSEN is Awarded to John W. Funder

Fondation IPSEN
Posted on: 01 Sep 16

The Fondation IPSEN Endocrine Regulations Prize will be awarded this year at the ICE-CSE (International Congress of Endocrinology – Chinese Society of Endocrinology), in Beijing on September 1 st , 2016. The international jury chaired by Professor Iain Robinson (National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK), awarded the prize to John W. Funder (Prince Henry´s Institute Victoria, Australia) for his pioneering work on the endocrine aspects of arterial hypertension and more specifically on primary aldosteronism.

John W. Funder said: “The Fondation IPSEN Endocrine Regulations Prize is a true honor. I am delighted to be counted among the recipients for this prestigious award.”

After receiving the award, John W. Funder will discuss about the past, the present and the future of primary aldosteronism (PA) or Conn’s syndrome. PA is considered to represent 5-10% of hypertension, with a much higher risk profile than age-, sex, and Blood Pressure-matched essential hypertension. Aldosterone is an adrenal hormone that helps control blood pressure by holding onto salt and losing potassium from the blood. PA is a disease in which the adrenal gland overproduces aldosterone which leads to hypertension and low blood potassium levels. These symptoms lead to an increased risk for heart attacks, heart failure, strokes, kidney failure, and early death. PA can be caused by either hyperactivity in one adrenal gland (caused by an aldosterone producing adenoma or less commonly by adrenal cancer or hyperplasia) or both (rare genetic syndromes like familial hyperaldosteronism type I and II).

John W. Funder has been studying the hormone aldosterone, and is now internationally recognized as an expert of the study of this hormone in Physiology and Clinical Medicine. In terms of physiology, he and his colleagues were the first to identify the mineralocorticoïd receptor (MR) into which aldosterone fits in the kidney, to retain sodium in the body and excrete potassium. He also showed that MR were expressed not only in epithelial aldosterone target tissues, but also in organs not directly involved in salt and water transport, such as the heart and brain. There are now substantial evidences that support the idea that aldosterone may exert some deleterious effects on the cardiovascular system including necrosis and fibrosis of the vasculature and the heart, vascular stiffening and injury, reduced fibrinolysis, endothelial dysfunction or cardiac arrhythmias.

Over the past decade, his contributions have been largely in the field of Primary Aldosteronism. His current activities are two-fold. The first is a re-examination of the prevalence of PA - normally considered as ~10% of hypertension - combining evidence from around the world that its true prevalence may be of the order of 50%. The second is to show that even at the currently accepted prevalence fewer than 1% of hypertensives are ever screened, and thus that >99% of PA patients are never appropriately treated - leading to a reasoned case for inclusion of a low-dose MR antagonist in the first-line therapy for all hypertensives.

The Endocrine Regulations Prize
Created in 2002, this Prize ofthe Fondation Ipsen has been awarded to the renowned specialists: Wylie VALE (2002), Robert LEFKOWITZ (2003), Pierre CHAMBON (2004), Thomas HÖKFELT (2005), Roger CONE (2006), William CROWLEY (2007), Ronald EVANS (2008), Gilbert VASSART (2009), Shlomo MELMED (2010), Paolo SASSONE-CORSI (2011), Jeffrey M. FRIEDMAN (2012), Bert O’MALLEY (2013), Maria I. NEW (2014) and C. Ronald Kahn (2015).

Members of the jury
Iain ROBINSON (National Institute for Medical Research, London, UK), President
Xavier BERTAGNA(Hôpital Cochin, Paris, France)
Felipe CASANUEVA(University of Santiago de Compostela, Santiago de Compostela, Spain)
Michael CONN (Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso, USA)
Ezio GHIGO(Ospedale Molinette, Turin, Italy)
Ilpo HUHTANIEMI(Imperial College Faculty of Medicine, London, UK)
Gérard KARSENTY(Columbia University Medical Center, New York, USA)
Paul KELLY(Faculté de Médecine Necker Enfants Malades, Paris, France)
Stafford LIGHTMAN(University of Bristol, Bristol, UK)
Günter STALLA(Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, München, Germany
Phyllis WISE(University of Illinois, Urbana, USA).

The Fondation IPSEN
Established in 1983 under the aegis of the Fondation de France, the ambition of the Fondation IPSEN is to initiate a reflection about the major scientific issues of the forthcoming years. The long-standing mission of the Fondation IPSEN is to contribute to the development and dissemination of scientific knowledge by fostering interaction between scientists and clinicians. It has developed an important international network of scientific experts who meet regularly at meetings known as Colloques Médecine et Recherche, dedicated to three main topics: neurosciences, endocrinology and cancer science. Moreover the Fondation IPSEN has started several series of meetings in partnership with the Salk Institute, the Karolinska Institute as well as with the science journals Cell and Science. The Fondation IPSEN produced several hundred publications and more than 250 scientists have been awarded prizes and grants.

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Last updated on: 01/09/2016

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