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UCB Announces 2008 UCB Family RA Scholarship Program Recipients

A total of $100,000 Awarded to 10 Individuals Reaching Beyond the Boundaries of Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fulfilling Educational Ambitions

SAN FRANCISCO, Oct. 28 /PRNewswire/ -- 5:00 am PDT -- UCB announced today the winners of the 2008 UCB Family RA Scholarship Program, which this year awarded a total of $100,000 to 10 students of all ages for fulfilling their educational ambitions and reaching beyond the confines of rheumatoid arthritis. The scholarship is awarded to individuals diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis or immediate family members (parent, spouse, child, or sibling) of someone with the disease.

The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis can make even the simplest everyday tasks difficult to undertake as the disease may cause painful inflammation of the joints, such as the fingers, thumbs, wrists, feet and ankles, and structural damage that can be disabling. The disease affects not just the individual but the whole family.

"The UCB Family RA Scholarship Program recognizes extraordinary individuals who are committed to accomplishing their educational goals and dedicated to overcoming the challenges posed by rheumatoid arthritis," said Michael Weinblatt, M.D., chairman of the scholarship selection board.

The winners of this one-time award were selected from a pool of 116 applicants from 26 states.

"UCB is truly honored to recognize these ten individuals who have risen above the obstacles of RA," said David Robinson, Vice President and General Manager of the Inflammation Business Unit at UCB. "We hope the scholarship will help these individuals pursue their highest academic aspirations."

2008 UCB Family RA Scholarship Program Recipients

Recipients were considered based on their applications, personal essays, and letters of recommendation. The 2008 recipients include:

-- Andrea Blamble, Ohio University

-- Alexandra Blasi, Washburn University, School of Law and School of


-- Mary Chin, University of Southern California

-- Veronica Horvath, University of Texas, Houston Medical School

-- Brittney LeFevre, West Texas A&M University

-- Denise Liberton, Pennsylvania State University

-- Rebecca Rothwell, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

-- Jennifer Schmidt, Haverford College

-- Lauren Tognazzini, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis


-- Tracy Wietecha, Madonna University

For further information

Bert Kelly, Communications Manager, UCB

Cell: 404.784.6303,

Eric Miller, Director of U.S. Corporate Communications, UCB

Cell: 404.519.5163,

About the 2008 UCB Family RA Scholarship Program

UCB launched a new rheumatoid arthritis (RA) scholarship pilot program to offer 10, one-time scholarships of up to $10,000 to patients diagnosed with RA and their immediate family members (parent, spouse, child, or sibling) who are seeking an associates, undergraduate, or graduate degree or are enrolled in a trade school educational program. Scholarship recipients were selected by a panel of medical professionals from across the country. Applicants must be enrolled in or awaiting acceptance from a United States-based institution of higher education for the spring semester of 2009; a legal and permanent resident of the United States and a student that demonstrates academic ambition and embraces a way of life that overcomes the boundaries of living with RA. Employees of UCB and their immediate family members are not eligible for this scholarship.

Scholarship amounts will be up to $10,000 to cover the recipient's tuition and/or educational materials expenses. However, if a student does not have a minimum of $10,000 in educational expenses owed for his/her schooling, the scholarship amount will only cover the remaining amount. If upon contacting an applicant UCB learns he/she does not have any remaining costs owed to the academic institution, he/she will no longer be eligible for the scholarship.

About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a progressive autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation of the joints. It is estimated that five million people suffer from RA globally, with 0.3 percent to 1 percent of the population in industrialized countries suffering from RA. It is estimated that, approximately 1.3 million people in the United States have RA. Women are three times more likely to be affected than men. Although it can affect people of all ages, the onset of RA usually occurs between the ages of 35-55.

Symptoms of RA include joint stiffness, joint pain, inflammation of the affected areas and an associated reduction in mobility. These symptoms can be intermittent and vary in severity from patient to patient. In more severe cases RA can eventually lead to disability. RA patients are also at a higher risk of developing other conditions, in particular heart disease, stroke, infections, lung problems and osteoporosis.

As there is currently no cure for RA, treatment goals center on disease management and controlling symptoms. Treatment is aimed at controlling disease progression, providing pain relief and reducing swelling, preventing joint damage and deformity and maintaining function of the affected joints to prevent disability.

Traditional treatments for RA include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids and disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs), with biological therapies a more recent addition. Anti-TNF (TNF-alpha; Tumor Necrosis Factor) therapies are specific types of biological therapies which have been used in patients with RA. They may be given alone but are usually given in combination with methotrexate or another immunosuppressant. They work by inhibiting the action of TNF-alpha, an inflammatory mediator, either directly or indirectly responsible for damaging the joint.

About UCB

UCB, Brussels, Belgium ( is a global leader in the biopharmaceutical industry dedicated to the research, development and commercialization of innovative medicines with a focus on the fields of central nervous system and immunology disorders. Employing around 12,000 people in over 40 countries, UCB achieved revenue of 3.6 billion euro in 2007. UCB is listed on Euronext Brussels (symbol: UCB). The company's U.S. headquarters are in Atlanta.

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