Astellas European Foundation

Researchers at University Children's Hospital Tübingen, Germany, win the Astellas European Foundation's Transplantation Grant 2013

Chertsey, England (ots/PRNewswire) - Dr Steffen Hartleif and Dr Ekkehard Sturm win $150,000 grant to support their research 'Safety and Tolerability of Immunomodulating Therapy with Mesenchymal Stem

Cells in Paediatric Living-Donor Liver Transplantation'

The Astellas European Foundation is delighted to announce that a research team led by Dr Steffen Hartleif and Dr Ekkehard Sturm from the University Children's Hospital Tübingen, Germany, has been selected as the recipient of the 2013 Transplantation Grant. The US$150,000 award will support their work to demonstrate safety and tolerability of donor-specific Mesenchymal stem cells in children with chronic liver failure treated with living-donor liver transplantation. The fourth Transplantation Grant to be made since the establishment of the Astellas European Foundation in 2005, it also marks the beginning of a new period, since the award will now be made annually, rather than every two years as previously.

Open to research units and institutions anywhere in the world, the Transplantation Grant has previously been awarded to teams in Spain (2007, Dr Nuria Lloberas, Hospital Universitarie de Bellvitge, Barcelona), Belgium (Dr Lidia Ghisdal, Hôpital Erasme) and Switzerland (Dr Christian Toso, University of Geneva). This year it attracted 63 applications from across the European region.

Dr Ayad Abdulahad, Astellas European Foundation Trustee and Senior Vice President Medical Affairs and Health Economics, Astellas Pharma Europe Ltd. commented, "Research is the life blood of medical science, only by furthering our understanding of the human body and the effects of disease can we develop new and more effective medicines and treatments. The project proposed by Dr Hartleif and Dr Sturm stood out to the judging panel. The pilot study, to be conducted by the University Children's Hospital Tübingen, is very exciting and will be the first time the use of these types of stem cells has been tested in children and the hope is to increase the tolerance of transplanted organs. This is one demonstration of why it is so important that research funding is available, whether sourced privately or publicly, to projects such as this."

Speaking on behalf of his team, the recipient of the Grant, Dr Steffen Hartleif said: "Receiving the Transplantation Grant 2013 is a great honour for all of us in our interdisciplinary team of paediatricians, transplant surgeons and stem cell scientists. The support by this Grant will help us to test mesenchymal stem cells in children after liver transplantation. These cells may contribute to establish immunotolerance of liver transplant and to reduce toxicity of immunosuppressive medication."

The Astellas European Foundation is a registered charity. It was established in 2005 with the goal of providing support for programmes and activities that contribute to the advancement of an increasingly healthy society. The Astellas European Foundation Transplantation Grant supports basic medical and related scientific programmes which contribute to advancements in transplant medicine. The winner of the grant was chosen by a jury that includes independent European transplantation leaders.

Notes to Editors

About The Astellas European Foundation

The Astellas European Foundation is a registered charity, formed in 2005, with the long-term goal of providing support for programmes and activities that contribute to the advancement of an increasingly healthy society. In line with this aim, the Foundation made substantial donations to global charities. The Astellas European Foundation also supports Astellas employees in their private fundraising efforts for charitable causes. The Astellas European Foundation is registered with the Charity Commission for England and Wales, number 1036344.

The Astellas European Foundation was established by funding from Astellas Pharma Inc., but operates independently of it.

APEL/13/0027/EU September 2013

Contact:

For further information please contact: Joe Barker, Astellas
European Foundation, Tel: +44-(0)203-379-8039, Email:
joe.barker@astellas.com



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