International honour for Sheffield pioneer of therapy for children with chronic hormone deficiency

26th August 2020

A scientist from the University of Sheffield who pioneered the first licenced therapy for children with a chronic hormone deficiency has been honoured with a prestigious international award.

  • Professor Richard Ross and his team from the University of Sheffield invented Alkindi® to treat infants and children with paediatric adrenal insufficiency - a life-threatening disease which is caused by the lack of stress hormone  
  • The Outstanding Innovation Laureate Award from the Endocrine Society is one of the highest accolades in the field

 A scientist from the University of Sheffield who pioneered the first licenced therapy for children with a chronic hormone deficiency has been honoured with a prestigious international award.

Richard Ross, Professor of Endocrinology at the University of Sheffield, has been recognised with the 2021 Outstanding Innovation Laureate Award from the Endocrine Society – one of the top honours in the field.

After dedicating his work to unravelling the mysteries of hormone disorders, Professor Ross and his team invented Alkindi®, the first licenced replacement therapy for infants, children and adolescents with paediatric adrenal insufficiency – the most common form being the genetic condition congenital adrenal hyperplasia (CAH), which is caused by a lack of the stress hormone cortisol.

Children with CAH must take daily hydrocortisone replacements from birth, but Alkindi® was the first approved paediatric product to meter out the treatment. Until Professor Ross’s groundbreaking work, parents had to crush adult tablets to administer the lifesaving medicine, making it very difficult to control the dosage level.  

Developed by the University of Sheffield spin-out company Diurnal, Alkindi® was granted market authorisation by the European Medicines Agency and is now available to patients in the UK and across Europe.

Reflecting on the award, Professor Ross, from the University of Sheffield’s Department of Oncology and Metabolism, said:

“I attended my first Endocrine Society meeting in 1987 which inspired me to follow my career in Endocrinology. The quality of the science, the intensity of debate and the wonderful warm welcome of the Society has nourished me over the years. 

“The Laureate Award is recognition of the pioneering research we have developed at the University of Sheffield. Our research has focused on optimising endocrine replacement therapy for patients with chronic endocrine diseases such as adrenal insufficiency and Addison’s disease.

“Alkindi® is now being prescribed across Europe and in the UK. The Laureate Award is an inspiration to the team to continue our work which includes developing new treatments for patients with common and rare endocrine diseases including congenital adrenal hyperplasia, hypogonadism and hypothyroidism.” 

Professor Ross is one of 15 leading endocrinologists announced as winners of the 2021 Laureate Awards. The Endocrine Society is the world’s oldest and largest organisation of scientists devoted to hormone research and physicians who care for people with hormone-related conditions.  

The Society has more than 18,000 members, including scientists, physicians, educators, nurses and students in 122 countries. It will present the awards to the winners at ENDO 2021, the Society’s annual meeting in March next year.  

For more information about the Endocrine Society please visit www.endocrine.org

To learn more about the University of Sheffield’s Department of Oncology and Metabolism please visit: https://www.sheffield.ac.uk/medicine/department-oncology-metabolism

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