Published: 03-05-2013 00:00 | Updated: 26-11-2013 10:29

New collaboration agreement launched the Crafoord Days

[NEWS 2013-05-02] This year's three Crafoord Prize-winners in polyarthritis - Lars Klareskog (Karolinska Institutet), Peter K Gregersen (the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research, USA) and Robert J Winchester (Columbia University, USA) - received their awards on 2 May from the hand of HRH the King today at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

Lars Klareskog, Karolinska Institutet, receives his award from the hand of HRH the King. Photo: Markus Marcetic

On 3 May, the three gave popular science lectures on their discoveries at Karolinska Institutet. The lectures and the award symposium was broadcasted on the RSAS website at

Already on Wednesday 1 May, the prizewinners attended a meeting at the Hagströmer Medico-Historical Library arranged by the Feinstein Institute of Medical Research and the Centre for Molecular Medicine (CMM), of which professor of rheumatology Lars Klareskog is the director. A collaboration agreement was then signed by the parties, which have been engaged in an extensive research partnership for many years.

The aim of the agreement is to set up a series of initiatives to promote scientific exchange between researchers from both centres, such as an exchange programme for scientists and doctoral students and scientific conferences to broaden the interaction between science and society.

The agreement was signed by Kevin J Tracey, chair of the Feinstein Institute, Liselotte Jansson, chair of the CMM, and Anders Hamsten, president of Karolinska Institutet.

Also present were Michael Dowling, president and CEO of the North Shore-LIJ Health System and Ralph Nappi, president of the North Shore-LIJ Health System Foundation, as well as representatives of Karolinska University Hospital, the Stockholm County Council and others.

One of the largest prices

The Crafoord Prize is one of the largest prize awards in science. It is awarded yearly by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and rotates among four different disciplines: astronomy and mathematics, biosciences, geosciences nd polyarthritis.

The 2013 Crafoord Prize has been awarded to polyarthritis, an umbrella term for all diseases that give rise to rheumatism in several joints simultaneously, such as RA, gout and psoriatic arthritis.

Professor Lars Klareskog shares this year's Crafoord Prize of SEK 4 million with US scientists Dr Robert J. Winchester and Dr Peter K. Gregersen, who discovered that different genetic changes in humans can give rise to the same kind of sensitivity to RA. Professor Klareskog, the first Swede to win the Crafoord Prize, has been able to demonstrate that such gene variants combined with smoking significantly increase the risk of rheumatism. Together, the three prizewinners have helped to explain how RA can develop at a molecular level.