SILVER SPRING, MD and TORRENCE, CA and SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, CA--(Marketwire - May 17, 2011) - The Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA), the Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center (LA BioMed) and Actelion Pharmaceuticals US, Inc., today announced that Dr. Ronald Oudiz of LA BioMed is the 2011 recipient of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association (PHA) Award of Excellence in Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH) Care. This annual award is designed to honor and acknowledge healthcare professionals who are committed to improving outcomes for patients with PAH through excellence in research and clinical practice.
As part of the award, the LA BioMed will receive a grant in the amount of $50,000 to support continued excellence in care for patients with PAH. The award is supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Actelion and was presented during a reception at the 2011 International Conference of the American Thoracic Society (ATS) in Denver, Colorado.
"Ron Oudiz has distinguished himself as a researcher dedicated to finding new ways to treat this often fatal disease, as well as a trusted clinician who is passionately committed to helping improve the lives of patients diagnosed with it," said Michael McGoon, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and consultant to the Division of Cardiovascular Disease at the Mayo Clinic, chair of the PHA Award Steering Committee. "This is an award about excellence in PAH care and Dr. Oudiz's achievements made him the obvious and deserved choice."
"PAH is still considered a rare disease, impacting less than 200,000 worldwide, and over the last decade, there have been significant advances in diagnosing and treating patients, while continuing to increase awareness of the disease across medical disciplines," said Rino Aldrighetti, president of the Pulmonary Hypertension Association. "Ron Oudiz has helped build the pulmonary hypertension community into a force that is bringing positive change to patients by helping ensure patients have the education and treatments they need to fight this disease."
"Through his pioneering research into PAH, Ron Oudiz is serving the underserved and all who suffer from this devastating disease," said David I. Meyer, PhD, LA BioMed president and CEO. "He is a leader in testing therapies and treatments that have improved the quality of life for those living with PAH, and his research is an important example of how LA BioMed scientists are making a difference in the health of people around the globe."
This year's award recipient was selected based on their demonstrated excellence in PAH patient care, service to the pulmonary hypertension community and consistent provision of cutting-edge options for patients living with PAH. The Steering Committee, who selected the recipient, included three physicians and three patients/patient advocates, including:
- Michael McGoon, MD, professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic College of Medicine and consultant to the Division of Cardiovascular Disease at the Mayo Clinic, chair of the PHA Award Steering Committee
- David Badesch, MD, professor of medicine in the Divisions of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine, and Cardiology, and the clinical director of the Pulmonary Hypertension Center at the University of Colorado;
- Gregory Elliott, MD, chairman, Department of Medicine, Intermountain Medical Center and professor of medicine at the University of Utah School of Medicine;
- Linda Carr, parent of a patient, past PHA board chair
- Jack Stibbs, parent of a patient and past PHA board chair
- Joanne Sperando-Schmidt, patient, past PHA board member.
About Pulmonary Arterial Hypertension (PAH)
Pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is a chronic, life-threatening disorder characterized by abnormally high blood pressure in the arteries between the heart and lungs of an affected individual. The function of the heart and lungs is severely compromised, manifested by a limited exercise capacity, and, ultimately, a reduced life expectancy. Less than 200,000 people in Europe and the United States are afflicted with either primary or secondary forms of the disease related to conditions or tissue disorders that affect the lungs, such as scleroderma, lupus, HIV/AIDS or congenital heart disease.
PAH is associated with structural changes in both the pulmonary vasculature and the right ventricle. Recent advances  in the understanding of the pathogenic factors leading to the pulmonary vascular disease have led to the development of new therapies targeting specific pathways (the prostacyclin pathway; the endothelin pathway; and the nitric oxide pathway) . The available therapies have effects in PAH, but they do not provide a cure, and in many patients the disease will progress. PAH remains a serious life-threatening condition [2,3]. Early recognition and an understanding of the selection and timing of therapeutic options remain critical elements in the optimal management of patients with this disorder.
About the Pulmonary Hypertension Association
Headquartered in Silver Spring, Md., PHA is the country's leading organization connecting pulmonary hypertension patients, families, and medical professionals. Its mission is to find ways to prevent and cure pulmonary hypertension and provide hope for the community through support, education, advocacy and awareness. PHA provides free access to information on its Web site about pulmonary hypertension and facilitates over 200 support groups around the nation, helping many of the estimated 30,000 diagnosed patients in the U.S. To learn more, visit: http://www.phassociation.org/
About Actelion Pharmaceuticals
Actelion Ltd is a biopharmaceutical company with its corporate headquarters in Allschwil/Basel, Switzerland. Actelion markets its medicinal products through its own subsidiaries in key markets worldwide, including the United States (based in South San Francisco), the European Union, Japan, Canada, Australia and Switzerland. Actelion, founded in late 1997, is a leading player in innovative science related to the endothelium -- the single layer of cells separating every blood vessel from the blood stream. Actelion's over 2,400 employees focus on the discovery, development and marketing of innovative drugs for significant unmet medical needs. Actelion shares are traded on the SIX Swiss Exchange (SWISS: ATLN) as part of the Swiss blue-chip index SMI (Swiss Market Index SMI®).
About LA Biomedical Research Institute
Founded in 1952, LA BioMed at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center is one of the country's largest nonprofit independent biomedical research institutes. It conducts biomedical research, trains young scientists and provides community services, including childhood immunization and nutrition assistance. The institute's researchers conduct studies in such areas as cardiovascular disease, emerging infections, cancer, diabetes, kidney disease, dermatology, reproductive health, vaccine development, respiratory disorders, inherited illnesses and neonatology. LA BioMed is academically affiliated with the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA. For more information, please visit our website at www.LABioMed.org
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