Bridge-builder between medicine and surgery awarded the Axel Hirsch Prize for 2011
Lars Lundell, adjunct professor at the Department of Clinical Science, Intervention and Technology, Karolinska Institutet, has been awarded the "Dr. Axel Hirsch Prize" for 2011, for his studies into a serious form of acid reflux known as gastroesophageal reflux disease. He has shown which methods of treatment, both medical and surgical, give the best results.
Lars Lundell's research has enabled the medical care system to gain better control over gastroesophageal reflux disease, or GERD, during the past two decades. Not only was he involved with evaluating the drug against acid reflux that would later become the most commonly prescribed drug, namely Losec, but also has he evaluated different methods of surgery and determined which is best, namely the procedure known as "fundoplication". This type of procedure restores the damaged valve function between the oesophagus and the stomach.
"My research group showed that this surgical procedure can essentially cure the disease. But it is only a small number of patients who need this. For most people, taking Losec or similar drugs is enough", says Lars Lundell.
He describes himself as a bridge-builder between specialised areas, in his case between gastric medicine and gastric surgery, and he is convinced that such interdisciplinary research will become evermore important in the future.
"Future research into diseases of the digestive system will be led by such people as Lars Lundell – people who are able to create genuine collaboration across the previously strict boundary between medicine and surgery. His studies cross disciplinary borders and have created a platform for scientists of the future", says Martin Ingvar, chair of the awarding committee.
The Dr. Axel Hirsch Prize is awarded each year by Karolinska Institutet's Board of Research as "recognition for a scientific article of high value, published by a Swedish scientist". The prizewinner is selected through nomination.