Award for world-class arthritis centre and malaria centre

​Two internationally recognised research and treatment centres receive the Capital Region of Denmark’s Global Excellence health award.

​The world’s first vaccine against malaria in pregnancy, and a register providing a much better quality of life for Danish arthritis patients. Both of these are innovations in the Capital Region of Denmark, and both have just been honoured with the prestigious Global Excellence award.

Important results have come from the Centre for Medical Parasitology (CMP), a collaboration between Rigshospitalet and the University of Copenhagen, as well as the  Copenhagen Center for Arthritis Research (COPECARE) at Rigshospitalet - Glostrup, respectively. Therefore, each centre has been rewarded with the Capital Region of Denmark’s annual Global Excellence health award of DKK 1.5 mill.

Global Excellence aims at promoting competent specialist environments of international renown within the health sector at universities and hospitals in the region. 

The DKK 1.5 million which comes with the Global Excellence award is awarded for initiatives with a clear international perspective, including showcasing the work of the centres internationally, further education, exchange of researchers, as well as further development of their research or treatments. 

We should celebrate our successes

“We have an ambition in the Capital Region of Denmark to be at the forefront internationally in our health research and in our treatment options for patients. In this context, the winners have distinguished themselves exceptionally well, especially with their ability to translate research into concrete benefits for patients,” said Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (Social Democratic Party), Chairman of the Regional Council at the Capital Region of Denmark, and she continued:

 “The awards are the result of commitment and long-term, dedicated work at hospitals and universities. In the Regional Council, we’re proud to have such skilled researchers and employees, who have really put Greater Copenhagen on the global map with their development of new medication and treatment in the health area,” said Ms. Andersen.

Close to the world’s first malaria vaccine

It has been estimated that malaria kills at least between 500,000 and 750,000 people every year, and of these nine out of ten are children under five. Therefore, with their development of a vaccine aimed at pregnant women, the CMP is on the brink of a revolutionary discovery. 

The vaccine is to start clinical trials in Germany and Benin later in 2015. The CMP has also made great progress in malaria prevention for babies.

“We believe that the vaccine will turn out to be effective and it builds on an entirely new principle, which has never been tried before. This in itself is a huge breakthrough,” said Professor Lars Hviid from the University of Copenhagen and the CMP, and he continued: 

“At the same time it can be used to further develop vaccines against other types of malaria. This will take us a large step further towards solving a global health problem.

The fundamental findings of the CMP in their malaria research could turn out to be useful in other types of research.

“For example, our knowledge about how the malaria parasite attaches itself to the placenta could turn out to be extremely relevant for cancer research, and diabetes research could benefit from the influence of malaria on the metabolism and state of nutrition,” said Prof. Hviid.​

Better quality of life for arthritis patients

Around three percent of the Danish population suffer from arthritis, and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis arthritis and spinal arthritis mean chronic pain, disability and increased mortality for the individual patient. COPECARE has had great success by tackling the problem from several different angles.

“In 2000, in collaboration with the other rheumatology departments in Denmark, we set up a nationwide register to act as a quality-assurance and research database. Furthermore, our research into MR scanning and ultrasound scanning has contributed to earlier diagnosis which will ensure better treatment,” said Professor Mikkel Østergaard from COPECARE and the University of Copenhagen. He continued:

“We’re now establishing a nationwide biobank, and in combination with our register this will give us unique patient information. This means that we hope that we will soon be able to set up treatment courses customised for the individual patient.

The Global Excellence in Health 2015 award was presented at a ceremony at Mogens Dahls Koncertsal in Copenhagen on 26 August. 

This is the sixth time the award has been presented.

For more information please contact: 

  • ​​Centre for Medical Parasitology (CMP), Rigshospitalet: Prof. Lars Hviid, tel.: +45 35 52 64 83
  • Copenhagen Centre for Arthritis Research, Rigshospitalet – Glostrup: Prof Mikkel Østergaard, tel.: +45 21 60 38 65
  • Chairman of the Regional Council, Sophie Hæstorp Andersen (Social Democrats) through the press office at the Capital Region of Denmark: + 45 70 20 95 88​
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