VIENNA, Sept. 4, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Grifols, a global healthcare company that specializes in the production of biological medicines derived from human plasma, announced today the recipients of the 2012 European Alpha1-Antitrypsin Laurell's Training Awards (eALTA). The annual awards, sponsored by Grifols, provide two fellowships of €50,000 to young investigators whose research contributes to the understanding and treatment of alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency (AAT deficiency). AAT deficiency is a rare, genetic condition in which low levels of the alpha1 protein can result in severe lung and liver disease.
The 2012 recipients of eALTA are Emily Fiona Arielle van 't Wout of Leiden University Medical Centre in The Netherlands and Riccardo Ronzoni of the University of Brescia in Italy. Van 't Wout and Ronzoni were presented with the awards Sunday, Sept. 2 at the 2012 European Respiratory Society (ERS) Annual Congress in Vienna during the Grifols-sponsored symposium.
Van 't Wout's research project will explore the production and accumulation in lung cells of the Z-AAT protein – a mutated form of the AAT protein which gives rise to lung and liver damage. Van 't Wout will also study whether cigarette smoke can promote the accumulation of Z-AAT polymers in lung cells, thereby contributing to lung cell damage.
Ronzoni's research project will investigate rare AAT mutations in hepatocytes, or liver cells, that cause lung damage through mechanisms that are different from those of the more common Z-ATT mutation. His project will also explore strategies that may interfere with these mechanisms.
"Research initiatives such as eALTA not only increase our understanding of the disease and its treatments, but they also help stimulate the interest and commit
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