Marc Bygdeman and Tore Curstedt receive the Grand Silver Medal 2017
The Grand Silver Medal 2017 from Karolinska Institutet is awarded to Tore Curstedt and Marc Bygdeman in special recognition of the outstanding contributions they have made to medical research and Karolinska Institutet.
Safe and effective abortion methods
Professor Emeritus Marc Bygdeman has been awarded The Grand Silver Medal for outstanding contributions to research, education and healthcare and for significant involvement in the World Health Organisation’s work in fertility and family planning.
He has dedicated his entire professional life to developing safer and more effective methods of abortion. During this time he has also worked unstintingly for the introduction and defence of the current abortion legislation. Under Professor Bygdeman’s leadership, research at Karolinska Institutet’s WHO centre has resulted in development of the medically-induced abortion, which today is well-established and is preferred by more than 90 percent of Swedish women as it minimizes the risks compared with surgical intervention.
Every year, about 50,000 women around the world die as the result of unsafe abortions. Effective, safe and accepted abortion methods are essential for reproductive health. Changed abortion methods, which are more accessible, accepted and safe, thus have enormous importance for women’s health.
The medicine which has saved the lives of half a million children
Associate Professor Tore Curstedt at the Department of Molecular Medicine and Surgery at Karolinska Institutet has been awarded the Grand Silver Medal for the work he and his colleague Bengt Robertson, who died in 2008, have done on their innovative treatment for preterm babies with respiratory distress syndrome (RDS). RDS has been the leading cause of death among preterm babies for decades.
It has been known since the 1950s that premature babies die due to the lack of surfactant, the substance which surrounds the inside of the lung alveoli. Attempts to synthesize the substance started in the 1960s, but these failed. However, when Pathologist Bengt Robertson and Clinical Chemist Tore Curstedt joined forces, they managed to extract the active ingredients from porcine lungs and develop a drug, Curosurf, which is used in more than 90 countries and is estimated to have saved more than half a million preterm babies.
Tore Curstedt has together with a colleague also developed a synthetic surfactant which is in clinical trials in United States and Europe. Unlike Curosurf the synthetic drug can be produced in large amounts and enables future treatment of adults suffering of lung diseases associated with inactive surfactant. He has received the Stockholm County Council Prize for Breakthrough in Clinical Research and His Majesty The King´s Gold Medal of the 12th size on a blue ribbon.