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Vancouver, BC (August 7, 2019) — The Pulmonary Hypertension Association of Canada (PHA Canada) is thrilled to announce the award of two new research scholarships to trainees at the Laval University (QC) doing research in the field of pulmonary hypertension (PH): a rare lung disease that affects an estimated 10,000 Canadians today.

“PHA Canada is dedicated to playing its part in supporting trainees in the field of PH medical research” tells Dr. John Swiston, Chair of PHA Canada’s Medical Committee. “That is why, thanks to the financial support of our community throughout the year, we’re proud to be awarding our scholarships for the fourth year in a row.”

Two named research scholarships of $10,000 are offered by PHA Canada to promote and support PH research in Canada annually. PHA Canada’s Paroian Family and Mohammed Family PH Research Scholarships are both named to recognize the incredible contribution of these families to the Canadian PH community through financial support of the public throughout the year.

Both of this year’s scholarships have been awarded to trainees working on the understanding of two critical proteins that affect the survival and proliferation of cells in pulmonary arteries of PH patients.

Géraldine Vitry, the first of two recipients at the Laval University in Québec, was awarded the Paroian Family PH Research Scholarship for her research into the effects of a protein called NUDIX and its potential for leading us towards improved molecular treatment of PH patients.

“There is currently no cure for pulmonary hypertension; current treatments only slow down disease progression in patients. A better understanding of molecular mechanisms in the pathology of the disease is both necessary and urgent to find solutions for those affected by this condition”, tells Vitry.

The second scholarship—the Mohammed Family PH Research Scholarship—was awarded to Karima Habbout whose work delves into understanding how the protein EZH2 has been found to—similarly to cancer—speed up the multiplication of cells in the pulmonary arteries, thus creating blockage in the lungs and the development of PH.

“It is our hope that by supporting these PH researchers, we will one day be able to move closer to improving the treatment of Canadians living with PH,” adds Dr. Swiston. “It is a space that is filled with hope, potential, and excitement for the future of our community”.