The Gallus Hall of the Cankarjev Dom in Ljubljana hosted excellent doctors and pharmacists of the Central and South-Eastern Europe – the finalists of the International Medis Awards for Medical Research 2019. Over the past six years, the awards for the best research achievements in medicine and pharmacy have become a symbol of excellence in medicine, as they recognize and award the best doctors and pharmacists in the region who besides everyday clinical work dedicate their time also to research of innovations in diagnostics and treatment.
For the prestige awards in nine research areas: gastroenterology, gynecology, intensive care medicine and anesthesiology, neurology, ophthalmology, pediatrics, pharmacy, pulmonology and allergology, and rheumatology, doctors and pharmacists from nine countries of the Central and South-Eastern Europe applied with as many as 207 research works. Besides the researchers from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Hungary, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Serbia and Slovenia, who published their research achievements in established international publications with the impact factor of 1.5 or more, researchers from Bulgaria also joined the contest for the first time this year.
Among the scientific research works of doctors and pharmacists, who from their clinical practice know the needs of their patients best and contribute to innovative and applicative solutions in the area of earlier, more reliable and patient-friendly diagnostics and efficient therapies, an independent scientific comittee under the leadership of a renowned Slovenian rheumatologist, Prof. Matija Tomšič, MD, PhD,chose 20 finalists of the contest, announced 9 winners in individual medical areas and presented a special International Medis Award.
Our work is getting more difficult because the contest is more and more recognizable, the studies are getting better every year, and the differences between the candidates are increasingly smaller. One of the most important added values of this contest is the applicability. We need to keep in mind that the strongest inner motivation of the researchers of this contest is to solve the research problem which has a name, surname and a soul, and that without research there is no good clinical practice and vice versa,
emphasized the president of the international expert panel of the International Medis Awards Prof. Matija Tomšič, MD, PhD
This year’s gala award ceremony in Ljubljana, which every year takes place in a different country participating at the contest, besides the ambassadors of the countries which participate in the contests and the international expert public was honoured also by the President of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, the academician Prof. Tadej Bajd, PhD.
That the contest is an important opportunity for promotion and popularization of scientific research work and for international connection of doctors and pharmacists, was assessed by the President of the Slovenian Pharmaceutical Society, Matjaž Tuš, Msc Pharm:
The scientific achievements in the fields of medicine and pharmacy directly decide how to diagnose diseases and what are the clinical, humanistic and economic results of the treatment. This is important for both the individual and the society, thus every contribution to promotion and popularization of science is extremely welcome and valuable.
The awards, such as the International Medis Awards, are an excellent opportunity to thank those who co-create the modern doctrine, but are also an encouragement for those who are only at the beginning of their career path or for those who would like to upgrade the routine practice with research work.
The International Medis Awards were created six years ago by Tone Strnad, the founder and the President of the Supervisory Board of the Medis company. This year Medis is celebrating its 30th anniversary of business operations and employs 350 people who in ten countries of the Central and South-Eastern Europe represent manufacturers of innovative medicines and provide these medicines to the patients in the whole region.
Over the past six years the independent international panel of the International Medis Awards has done an incredible job! It reviewed and assessed as many as 932 research works. I am glad that we recognize these excellent, even magnificent medical stories which give people hope, and promise a brighter future to the next generations.
I am especially proud of the mission of this contest, as it encourages medical research and discovering things beyond what is known now in medicine and pharmacy. And of course I am infinitely grateful to both the president and the members of the international panel of the International Medis Awards, as well as to all the researchers in medicine and pharmacy who work hard for new findings, as they are sure that one must always know more for the patients and take better care of them. Sincere thank you!
Tone Strnad, the initiator of the International Medis Awards contest, emotionally addressed the audience in the too-full Gallus Hall.
Winners of The International Medis Awards 2019
GASTROENTEROLOGY: David Drobne, MD, PhD, from the Department of Gastroenterology of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, together with his colleagues discovered a technology which enables adaptation of doses and concentration of medicine for every patient with a chronic inflammatory bowel disease. This technology ensures the patients a safer treatment. Due to excellent price efficacy it will also be more accessible to less developed countries.
GYNECOLOGY: How to predict when a pregnant woman will give birth prematurely was researched by Tanja Nikolova, MD, MSc, PhD, from Skopje. Together with an international team of colleagues she has proven that a negative result of the PartoSure test is a reliable indicator that a pregnant woman will not give premature birth in the next seven to fourteen days. These findings will spare the patients and newborns the adverse effects of imminent premature birth therapies.
INTENSIVE CARE MEDICINE AND ANESTHESIOLOGY: Which anesthetics are more suitable for cardiovascular surgeries is the question which occupied Nikola Bradić, MD, from the Clinical Hospital Dubrava in Zagreb. Together with a team of international colleagues he has proven that there is no difference in complications and mortality in studied patients in which they used inhalation and intravenous anesthetics.
NEUROLOGY: Edin Begić, MD, MA, from the Dr Abdulah Nakaš General Hospital Sarajevo, together with his colleagues established that a marker of heart failure, B-type natriuretic peptide, can also be a marker of cognitive disorders in Alzheimer’s dementia.
OPHTHALMOLOGY: Cornea transplantation is one of the most frequent tissue transplantations in the world which gives back the eyesight to many patients. However, despite the success of the transplantation, in some patients transplanted tissue degradation occurs. Immunological aspects which could cause the degradation of the transplant are very poorly researched. Zala Lužnik, MD, PhD, together with an excellent international team from Harvard and the Netherlands, was the first to notice that there are increased markers of natural immune response in the intraocular fluid. Her findings will contribute to discoveries of more efficient local anti-inflammatory therapies and consequently to better survival of endothelial corneal transplants.
PEDIATRICS: Assist. Prof. Klemen Dovč, MD, PhD, from the Department of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases of the Division of Paediatrics Ljubljana, together with his colleagues studied the long-term functioning of the closed loop in people with type 1 diabetes, and established that the important swings of the need for insulin during the day and night are most prominent in the preschool population.
PHARMACY: How are thought and emotions constructed, how does the process of human decision-making take place? These are the questions which enthuse Assist. Prof. Marin Jukić, PharmD, from the Faculty of Pharmacy Belgrade. This year he focused on studying schizophrenia and has proven that 10% of the schizophrenia patients do not have the necessary enzyme for metabolism of two most frequent antipsychotics, thus their treatment is inefficient and can even be dangerous.
PULMONOLOGY AND ALLERGOLOGY: Thanks to the findings of Tanja Soklič Košak, MD, MSc, from the Department of Otorhinolaryngology and Cervicofacial Surgery of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, and her colleagues from the University Clinic of Respiratory and Allergic Diseases Golnik, patients with severe chronic sinusitis and persistent symptoms will be given adjusted treatment in the future.
RHEUMATOLOGY: The research field of Assist. Prof. Alojzija Hočevar, MD, PhD, from the Department of Rheumatology of the University Medical Centre Ljubljana, is IgA vasculitis. She found out that obese patients who have high blood pressure and diabetes are more susceptible to IgA vasculitis, thus a healthy lifestyle is important also in preventing this inflammatory rheumatic disease.
INTERNATIONAL MEDIS AWARDS SPECIAL AWARD: Prof. Ruth Ladenstein, MD, PhD, paediatrician and oncologist from the Children’s Cancer Research Institute Vienna, has been devoting her whole career to research of neuroblastoma. Together with an international group of colleagues she researched and proved the safety and efficacy of dinutuximab beta immunotherapy in first-line treatment of patients with high-risk neuroblastoma.