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The GRAMMER European Spine Journal Award 2010


Do our spinal disks have their own way to protect themselves? initial evidence through studies on diseased spinal cartilage

The GRAMMER European Spine Journal Award 2010 awarded to the research group of Dr. Christopher A. Sharp

Amberg, September 30, 2010 The largest European conference of spinal researchers took place in Vienna from September 15 17 2010. The EuroSpine conference was host to well over 2,000 biomechanics experts, biologists and doctors, who exchanged the latest findings from their fields. During the conference in Austrias capital, the GRAMMER European Spine Journal Award was awarded for the eleventh time. Each year, the worlds largest prize for spinal research is bestowed in recognition of outstanding achievement in fundamental research; this highly coveted award is sponsored by leading seat manufacturer GRAMMER AG and the European Spine Journal. An expert committee of editors and members of the Scientific Advisory Board of the European Spine Journal selected the best contribution published by this esteemed publication during the previous year.

The impact of stress on spinal cartilage cells

The 2010 prize went to a research team composed of Dr. Christopher A. Sharp, Professor Sally Roberts, Dr. Helena Evans and Dr. Sharon J. Brown. In their research work, the group investigated the question as to whether there is evidence in degenerated cartilage cells of a possible cellular protection mechanism against the predominating adverse environmental conditions (poor nutrition and an accumulation of waste products resulting from the degeneration). To this end, human intervertebral tissue from people who had suffered disk ruptures was compared with tissue from healthy people and those with degenerative disk disease. The results: For one, people with a herniated disk had more cell clusters a cell structure of three or more cells in the affected tissue than did the other groups.

Moreover, these cell clusters contained increased levels of so-called stress proteins. These factors could help cells to survive under adverse conditions. In other words, there is now molecular proof that spinal disk cells are equipped with a defense mechanism that might protect the spinal disks from further damage. A better understanding of these processes would make new forms of therapy possible in which the defense mechanisms were directly targeted in order to counteract pathological changes.

From the lab into the treatment room

GRAMMER AG supports science with this award and implements the findings into its own product philosophy. The result is ergomechanics: Biomechanical demands flow into the ergonomics of our products. By keeping track of the latest developments in spinal research, we maintain our developmental edge and technological leadership in seating ergonomics. More information is available at The next EuroSpine conference takes place in Milan, Italy from October 19-21, 2011.

*The title of the paper by Dr. Christopher A. Sharp et al. is, Disc Cell Clusters in pathological human intervertrebal discs are associated with increased stress protein immunostaining.


Company Profile

GRAMMER AG, Amberg, Germany, is specialized in the development and production of components and systems for automotive interiors as well as driver and passenger seats for offroad vehicles (tractors, construction machinery, forklifts), trucks, buses and trains. Our Seating Systems division comprises the truck and offroad seat segments as well as train and bus seating. In the Automotive division, we supply headrests, armrests, center console systems and integrated child safety seats to premium automakers and automotive system suppliers.

GRAMMER is represented in 17 countries worldwide with a workforce of approx. 7,500 employees across its 25 fully consolidated subsidiaries.

GRAMMER shares are listed in the S-DAX segment of the German Stock Exchange, and are traded on the Munich and Frankfurt stock exchanges, via the Xetra electronic trading platform and on the OTC markets of the Stuttgart, Berlin and Hamburg stock exchanges.

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