In 2022, 60 Funds, dedicated to scientific medical research and managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, allocated in total 6.6 million euros to 72 research projects. Led by researchers attached to Belgian universities and higher educational institutions, the projects cover a wide range of fields, but all share a common feature: none of them would have seen the light of day without the help of philanthropists who wish to support research that improves patients’ lives. The prizewinners were honoured this Thursday October 5, during a prize-giving ceremony held in the presence of Princess Astrid.
Funds dedicated to health research are generally created on the initiative of philanthropists, who are convinced of the importance of such research for society, but also sometimes because they themselves have been faced with illness. The Funds cover a wide range of pathologies, including cancer, dementia, rare illnesses, rheumatology, cardiology, diabetes and ophthalmology. Thanks to philanthropy, the King Baudouin Foundation has been able to make a significant contribution to scientific medical research for over twenty years. For the researchers who benefit, this philanthropic support is often the indispensable point of departure for an innovative project, or an essential complement to support provided by the government or industry.
The new prizewinners are all top-level researchers, young scientists who are launching their scientific career or established researchers following up on already promising work. The ensemble of Belgian universities, as well as certain higher education institutions, feature among the prizewinners. National and international collaboration has been established at various levels to carry out this research.
Here you will find the list of the 72 projects supported in 2022. Each project gives the name of the researcher, the institution in which he/she works, a brief description of the research and the name of the fund contributing financially to the project.
Melanoma and sarcopenia
During the ceremony, two prizewinners who had benefitted in 2019 from support from a fund dedicated to health research, spoke about the progress in their research and the decisive impact that had been made by the support they had received.
· Dr. Francesca Rapino, from the University of Liege - Giga, is successfully conducting fundamental research into the immune response to melanoma, in order to identify new targets for immunotherapy. This form of therapy leads to an important regression in the melanoma, but its efficacy varies from one patient to another and some patients develop resistance to the medicines. Discoveries from this research could have a significant impact on the prognosis of patients with melanoma.
· Dr. Anton De Spiegeleer, from the University of Ghent, is conducting research into sarcopenia, a syndrome related to aging that corresponds to a progressive and generalised loss of muscle mass. Current treatments for sarcopenia are very limited, so this research has the potential to address an unmet clinical need. The results of this research are opening the way to a better understanding of the multiple cause of this illness and to having a potential impact on the quality of life of the elderly.