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  • Lauri Beekmann

CAN's Drug Research Prize to Johan Franck

26.10.2022 - CAN's Drug Research Prize for 2022 is awarded to Professor and Senior Physician Johan Franck. The award will be presented during a ceremony at the DrugFOKUS conference, which this year takes place in Jönköping.

"It is a great pleasure to be able to acknowledge Johan Franck's work," says Charlotta Renman Wigstad, Director of CAN.

The prize is now awarded every two years and will always go to a researcher working in Sweden who has contributed valuable new knowledge in the field of drugs through outstanding research.

"The Drug Research Committee agreed that he is a very worthy recipient of this year's award," says Charlotta Renman Wigstad.

The award committee's justification reads: Professor Johan Frank's scientific achievements in the field of alcohol and drugs have contributed to significant and useful results for the health care system, both for the profession and for patients. Alongside his research, Johan Franck has also been a reformer of Swedish addiction care through his involvement in quality registers, as a leader and manager in health care and as a textbook author.

In 1992, Johan Franck obtained his PhD in experimental brain research and subsequently built up his own research group focusing on interventions to prevent relapse into harmful use/addiction. After a period at Rockefeller University in 1999-2000, Franck established an extensive clinical trial programme in Sweden to evaluate drugs for alcohol dependence.

Johan Franck's work has contributed to several significant research efforts. A major and important contribution is the discovery that naltrexone reduces the risk of relapse in amphetamine dependence. This was demonstrated both in an experimental PhD thesis supervised by Johan Franck and in a high-profile clinical trial published in 2008 in Am J Psychiatry. Naltrexone is the first drug shown to have a relapse-preventing effect in amphetamine dependence, and is now included in the National Guidelines for Substance Use and Addiction of the National Board of Health and Welfare. In another significant research achievement, Johan Franck's research team showed in 2014 that treatment with methylphenidate reduces the risk of relapse to harmful use for prisoners with co-morbidity between ADHD and amphetamine dependence.

Since 2011, Johan Franck has been a driving force behind the International Collaboration for ADHD and Substance Abuse (ICASA), which has published more than 20 scientific papers on the prevention and treatment of harmful use/dependence in concurrent ADHD. Johan Franck is also the principal investigator of ICASA's international long-term cohort on treatment follow-up in concurrent substance use disorder and ADHD.

Since 2011, Johan Franck has been the registrar for Better Addiction Care, which is now the largest quality registry in Swedish psychiatry. He has also been the main supervisor for 8 PhD students and about 10 postdocs. His scientific output includes 112 original papers. He was the editor of the national textbook in Addiction Medicine (Studentlitteratur).

Johan Franck is Reviewing Editor of Addiction Biology and a member of the Editorial Board of European Addiction Research. Johan Franck was a member of the Scientific Advisory Group for Psychiatry at the European Medicines Agency (EMA) from 2011 to 2020 and is since 2011 Director of Operations of the Addiction Centre Stockholm where he has built up an extensive research activity.

In summary, Johan Franck's scientific contributions in the field of alcohol and drugs are nationally leading and internationally prominent. The Drug Research Committee agreed that he is a worthy recipient of the 2022 Drug Research Prize.

CAN Drug Research Award

The prize is awarded every two years to a researcher working in Sweden who has contributed valuable new knowledge in the field of drugs through outstanding research. The prize money is SEK 50 000 and the award is given every two years.

Previous winners:

2020 Rosaria Galanti

2019 Bo Söderpalm

2018 Jukka Törrönen

2017 Markus Heilig

2016 Sven Andréasson

2015 Ingrid Nylander

2014 Anders Romelsjö

2013 Claudia Fahlke

2012 Peter Allebeck

2011 Fred Nyberg

2010 Mats Ramstedt

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