On 10 November, Princess Astrid visited the lab of Rosa Rademakers (Biomedical Sciences) at the VIB-UAntwerp Center for Molecular Neurology. In 2021, Rademakers received the Generet Prize for her research into rare forms of dementia. This award, managed by the King Baudouin Foundation, comes with a cash prize of 1 million euros. This makes it the most prestigious award for research into rare diseases in Belgium and Europe.
Rosa Rademakers carries out research into frontotemporal dementia, which primarily affects the frontal and temporal lobes of the brain. The onset of this form of dementia can occur relatively early in life, often around someone’s 40th or 50th birthday. The disease is incurable and patients generally die within ten years of being diagnosed.
‘Unlike people with Alzheimer’s disease, patients with frontotemporal dementia do not experience as many memory problems’, explains Rosa Rademakers. ‘They do, however, present with major changes in behaviour and personality: they come across as uninhibited, their social behaviour may be inappropriate and sometimes they even become aggressive.’
We are honored by Princess Astrid's visit and her interest in our research. It is an important recognition for our entire team.
The Generet Fund aims to create a strong and internationally recognised research hub for rare diseases in Belgium. Every year, the Fund awards a prize worth one million euros to a top scientist conducting research into rare diseases in Belgium. Rosa Rademakers is the first woman – and the youngest researcher ever – to win the Generet Prize.
Today, Princess Astrid was given a tour of Rademakers’ lab and told all about the interesting research. Rademakers says she is "honored by Princess Astrid's visit and her interest in our research. It is an important recognition for our entire team, and an extra motivation for everyone who works every day to better understand this terrible disease. Thanks to the Generet Fund, we have been able to greatly expand our studies and are one step closer to a possible breakthrough."