Scientific Award

The AstraZeneca 2022 Award to Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse


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Director of the Research Group on Sensation and Perception (GIGA-ULiège) and researcher at the Interdisciplinary Center of Algology of the University Hospital of Liège, Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse works on non-ordinary states of consciousness. Her goal: to indicate to doctors in which situation and for which patients hypnosis or other techniques bring the most benefits.

In the course of her research, Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse was able to determine the impact of hypnosis in certain cases: "In terms of chronic pain and recovery after cancer, hypnosis combined with self-monitoring can improve the quality of life of patients, reduce pain and emotional distress and improve sleep quality," she explains.

Her research has also allowed her to specify the number of sessions needed: "Thanks to our research on chronic pain, we have managed to establish that only eight sessions of hypnosis combined with self-monitoring are sufficient to reduce pain, anxiety and depression and to offer a better quality of life," says Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse.

More recently introduced in hospitals, VRH, a headset combining virtual reality and hypnosis, is also being tested by the team. While it has shown great effectiveness in the treatment of acute pain, the other preferred indications have yet to be determined.

AstraZeneca Foundation

Each year, the AstraZeneca Foundation nominates three laureates to independent juries appointed by the Fund for Scientific Research (FNRS) and the Research Foundation – Flanders (FWO).

"Each year, the scientists on the Foundation's Board of Directors choose research areas that will benefit patients," explains Professor Jean-Luc Balligand, President of the AstraZeneca Foundation. For 2022, we wanted to highlight innovative and unconventional therapeutic approaches exploiting genetic defects in cancer cells, innovative approaches to improving clinical care, and new insights into psychosocial vulnerability during the COVID-19 pandemic. Based on the quality of their work, we are delighted that three researchers in these fields have been recognized, illustrating, once again, the Foundation's vocation to encourage excellent research with societal relevance."

In addition to Audrey Vanhaudenhuyse, this year the AstraZeneca Foundation also honored Kim De Keersmaecker of the KULeuven and Sarah Van de Velde of the Antwerp University 

Each winner will be awarded the sum of €25,000. Since 1993, through the prizes awarded to researchers, the AstraZeneca Foundation has already devoted €5.57 million to support research in Belgium.

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