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Best Negative Data Prize Awarded to Dr. Chadi G. Abdallah

Cohen Veterans Bioscience and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) have awarded the 2021 Best Negative Data Prize in Clinical Neuroscience to Chadi Abdallah, MD whose work inadvertently revealed mechanisms that may play a role in depression relapse following treatment with ketamine.

Recipient recognized for research that may shed light on mechanisms contributing to depression relapse

Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB) and the European College of Neuropsychopharmacology (ECNP) have awarded the 2021 Best Negative Data Prize in Clinical Neuroscience to Chadi Abdallah, MD whose work inadvertently revealed mechanisms that may play a role in depression relapse following treatment with ketamine.

Currently, Dr. Abdallah is an Associate Professor of Psychiatry at Baylor College of Medicine, and the Director of the Core for Advanced MRI.

The Best Negative Data Prize is awarded to the researcher or research group whose neuroscience study best exemplifies data where the outcomes do not confirm the expected results or working hypothesis.

In the case of Dr. Abdallah’s work, the results contradicted the expected hypothesis that a particular pathway in the brain, mTORC1, mediates the antidepressant effects of ketamine, which preclinical research had strongly implicated earlier.

In fact, Dr. Abdallah’s study showed that when rapamycin‚ mTORC1 inhibitor‚ was given prior to ketamine, not only were the rapid antidepressant effects of ketamine not reduced but the rates of remission and response were increased two weeks following treatment. Currently, ketamine must be infused two to three times per week to afford clinical benefit, which is not ideal for patients.

“This methodologically sound paper advanced the field significantly by an unexpected finding contrary to the hypothesis that also has translational implications. It thus epitomizes the kind of research the prize wants to highlight,” said Andreas Meyer-Lindenberg, M.D., the chair of the ECNP awards committee and editor in chief of the societies’ open access journal Neuroscience Applied.

This year’s prize for clinical neuroscience extends CVB’s previous sponsorship of the same prize for preclinical neuroscience, which has been awarded biennially since 2018 by the Global Preclinical Data Forum (GPDF).

The purpose of the unusual award is to incentivize researchers to publish negative findings to demonstrate that all data is worthy for the scientific process. The prize aims to initiate a paradigm shift in which negative data are valued according to the same standards as positive data.

The Prize was awarded to Dr. Abdallah for his paper titled Modulation of the antidepressant effects of ketamine by the mTORC1 inhibitor rapamycin, which was published in the February 24, 2020, issue of Neuropsychopharmacology.

“CVB is delighted to extend our sponsorship of the Best Negative Data Prize to Clinical Neuroscience as it aligns with our vision to support robust, reproducible research to advance brain health. Moving scientific researchers to adapt to the idea of negative data having value could only accelerate progress for all,” said Magali Haas, MD, PhD, CVB’s President and CEO.

Publication Award

The award, presented at the 34th ECNP Congress Hybrid, is a monetary prize of 10,000 (ten thousand) Euro, made available through the generous sponsorship of Cohen Veterans Bioscience. The prize was awarded by Dr. Chantelle Ferland-Beckham, CVB’s Director of Policy and Advocacy and a member of the GPDF Steering Committee who initiated the prize

About the ECNP

ECNP is a scientific association dedicated to advancing the science of the brain, promoting better treatment and enhancing brain health. It is Europe’s leading independent forum for the science of CNS treatments. The ECNP Congress, Europe’s largest meeting on brain science, showcases the world’s best disease-oriented brain research, annually attracting between 4,000 and 6,000 neuroscientists, psychiatrists, neurologists and psychologists. ECNP’s wide range of scientific and educational activities, programmes and events make it the largest non-institutional supporter of applied and translational neuroscience research and education in Europe.

The ECNP Preclinical Data Forum, established by ECNP in 2014, was the founding basis, and now the European branch, of the Global Preclinical Data Forum.

More information about ECNP, it’s aims and activities, can be found here.

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About Cohen Veterans Bioscience (CVB)

Cohen Veterans Bioscience is a non-profit 501(c)(3) biomedical research and technology organization dedicated to advancing brain health by fast-tracking precision diagnostics and tailored therapeutics.