-- Details presented at the annual congress of the European Respiratory Society (ERS)
BARCELONA, Spain, Sept. 9, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Grifols, a global healthcare company based in Barcelona, Spain, today introduced the AlphaKit® QuickScreen, a novel and efficient point-of-care device that can be used by physicians to screen for alpha1-antitrypsin (AAT) deficiency, a rare, life-threatening condition. The AlphaKit® QuickScreen is in late stage development and is anticipated to be available for use in several European countries in early 2014. The AlphaKit® QuickScreen was presented as part of the Grifols symposium "Alpha1-Antitrypsin Deficiency: Honoring the Past and Embracing the Future."
The AlphaKit® QuickScreen, as the name implies, is a quick way for physicians and healthcare providers to screen COPD and emphysema patients for a unique genetic mutation commonly associated with AAT deficiency. Requiring only a few drops of blood, the AlphaKit® QuickScreen is able to detect the presence of the Z protein that is responsible for over 95% of severe AAT deficiency cases within 15 minutes.
Individuals suffering from AAT deficiency often develop COPD, leading to disability and premature death. AAT deficiency is estimated to affect over 100,000 people in Europe alone, although greater than 90% of individuals remain undiagnosed.
"The good news is that for most patients, AAT deficiency can quickly be ruled out during a medical exam – and it only needs to be done once in a patient's life. If a patient tests positive, they are either a carrier of this genetic condition or are at risk of developing AAT deficiency emphysema," says Dr. Claus Vogelmeier, Professor of Internal and Respiratory Medicine at the Hospital of the Universities of Giessen and Marburg, Germany. "Thus, we can proceed with a full diagnostic test to make the definitive diagnosis as we've always done and if appropriate, begin augmentation therapy."
Grifols anticipates that the AlphaKit® QuickScreen will lead to improved patient outcomes by reducing the time and number of physicians it takes to make an accurate and timely diagnosis. "It typically takes seven years and more than four physicians before the AAT deficiency diagnosis is made," says Dr. Marc Miravitlles, Chest Physician and Senior Researcher, Department of Pulmonology at the Hospital Vall d'Hebron, Barcelona, Spain. "By this point, the patients are symptomatic, and it is apparent that they may not have normal or usual COPD."
Grifols currently provides a definitive and accurate diagnostic test, known as the AlphaKit® to physicians in several countries. The AlphaKit® has also been used to screen at-risk patients, and results are received in approximately two weeks. Grifols will continue to offer both the screening device and the diagnostic test, as they complement each other and facilitate detection of AAT deficiency. An early diagnosis allows patients to make informed decisions and provides the opportunity to make lifestyle changes that can add years to their lives.
Grifols is a global healthcare company with a 70-year legacy of improving people's health and well-being through the development of life-saving plasma medicines, hospital pharmacy products, and diagnostic technology for clinical use.
As a leading producer of plasma medicines, Grifols has a presence in more than 100 countries and is the world leader in plasma collection, with 150 plasma donation centres across the US. Grifols is committed to increasing patient access to its life-saving plasma medicines through significant manufacturing expansions and the development of new therapeutic applications of plasma proteins. The company is headquartered in Barcelona, Spain, and employs more than 11,000 people worldwide.
In 2012, Grifols' sales exceeded 2,620 million euros. The company's class A shares are listed on the Spanish Stock Exchange, where they form part of the Ibex-35 (MCE:GRF). Its non-voting class B shares are listed on the Mercado Continuo (MCE:GRF.P) and on the US NASDAQ via ADRs (NASDAQ: GRFS). For more information visit www.grifols.com.
About Alpha1-Antitrypsin Deficiency
Alpha1-antitrypsin deficiency, also known as AAT deficiency or alpha1, is an inherited disorder that causes a significant reduction in the naturally occurring protein, alpha1-proteinase inhibitor. While rare, alpha1 is the most common cause of genetic emphysema in adults and the most common cause of liver disease in children. Individuals suffering from alpha1 often develop severe chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) leading to disability and premature death. Alpha1 is estimated to affect 100,000 people in Europe alone, although greater than 90% of individuals remain undiagnosed.