The Winners of the Louis-Jeantet Prize for Medicine

The 2010 Louis-Jeantet Prize Winners


Michel Haïssaguerre
Entretien avec Michel Haïssaguerre,
Emission Impatience, Radio Suisse Romande RSR

Austin Smith

The 2010 LOUIS-JEANTET PRIZE FOR MEDICINE is awarded to the French cardiologist Michel HAÏSSAGUERRE (University and University Hospital of Bordeaux) and to the British biologist Austin SMITH (Cambridge University).

THE FOUNDATION distinguishes in 2010 not only a biologist whose fundamental research will have important repercussions in the field of medicine, but also and for the first time a doctor whose clinical research has revolutionised the treatment of cardiac rhythm disorders.

Michel HAÏSSAGUERRE is awarded the 2010 Louis-Jeantet Prize for medicine for his work on cardiac fibrillation, notably for his discovery of the origin of atrial fibrillation, and for developing treatment that has already helped thousands of people in the world. 
He discovered that atrial fibrillation does not originate in the heart muscle, as had been thought for a long time, but outside the heart in the pulmonary veins. His research has led to the development of new treatment for this cardiac rhythm disorder, which consists of destroying or isolating the affected tissues using cryotherapy or ultrasound. The same original approach has been used for research into the causes of ventricular fibrillation, which is the principal cause of sudden death. The preliminary results offer hope for the treatment of this grave pathology.

Michel HAÏSSAGUERRE plans to use the prize money to finance equipment for the optical mapping and modelling experimental laboratory allowing him to continue his research on ventricular fibrillation.

Austin SMITH is awarded the 2010 Louis-Jeantet Prize for medicine for his seminal contribution to understanding the mechanisms governing the renewal or differentiation of stem cells, a vital stage in the development of cell treatment.
Austin SMITH is considered to be one of the world-class specialists in embryonic stem cells. He showed how these pluripotent stem cells form at the embryonic stage, and how they could proliferate in a cell culture environment. His work guided cell therapy development, which is aimed at regenerating damaged tissues or organs. 
Austin SMITH plans to use the prize money to continue his work on stem cells. He intends to use embryos of rabbits and marmosets in order to establish whether the mechanisms leading to pluripotency, which he has shown to exist in rodents, are also to be found in other mammals.

THE AWARD CEREMONY was held on Tuesday October 12, 2010, in Geneva Switzerland.

The journal EMBO Molecular Medicine featured special contributions by the prize-winners (Vol. 2Issue 4, April 2010) and sponsored the 2010 Louis-Jeantet Prize Lectures at The EMBO Meeting (Barcelona, 4-7 September, 2010).