ERS Research Award on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis 2015


Dr Antje Prasse is an outstanding clinician and researcher. She runs an interstitial lung disease (ILD) clinic in Hannover that provides treatment for all patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF) in northern Germany. She heads an Attract research group at the Fraunhofer Institute for Experimental Medicine (ITEM).

Dr Prasse is eminent in the field of bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) analysis and biomarker development for IPF. She was the first to publish that alveolar macrophages in IPF are alternatively activated and display a profibrotic role. She discovered that the interaction of macrophages and fibroblasts causes a vicious circle perpetuating pulmonary fibrosis. In 2009, she demonstrated that a molecular biomarker (CCL18) predicts outcomes in IPF. This was a milestone in finding predictors of IPF activity. Later, her group demonstrated an association of CCL18 levels with disease progression in systemic sclerosis and acute IPF exacerbation.

In 2011, Dr Prasse successfully established a European network of researchers analysing acute exacerbation of IPF in more than 200 patients. She began collaborating with Naftali Kaminski, Yale University in 2010 and in 2013/4 she took a visiting professorship at Yale University. They collaborated on analysing BAL transcriptome of IPF patients. The group is now studying the role of epithelial progenitor cells in IPF. New tools were established to study the role of these cells and may lead to a new understanding of the disease.

ERS Research Director, Professor Maria Belvisi, said: "Dr Prasse cares for one of Germany's largest idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis cohorts. Her extensive work on IPF, notably the discovery of molecular biomarkers, provides insight and direction for the field to benefit patients globally."

The ERS Research Award on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis is presented to a young investigator in recognition of achievements, advances and successful research in the area of respiratory medicine, with a particular focus on idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The €10,000 award will be used to further IPF research. This award is financially supported by ERS.

Dr Prasse will be presented the ERS Research Award on Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis on Sunday 27 September from 10:45 in the Forum room before the hot topic session, 'IPF: an airway-derived disease?', where she will speak on the unexpected contribution of airway-derived epithelial cells to IPF progression.