Gale Tang, MD Named 2011 Wylie Scholar

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Gale Tang, MDJuly 19, 2011 – Vascular Cures, a leading non-profit investing in research to develop breakthrough treatments for vascular disease, announced that Gale Tang, M.D., a vascular surgeon at the University of Washington, has been named the 2011 Wylie Scholar in Academic Vascular Surgery. The $150,000 grant was awarded to support her research in understanding the mechanisms that promote blood vessel growth, and to develop new non-surgical therapies for people suffering from an advanced form of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Current estimates are that more than 8 million Americans have PAD, a condition that can produce severe disability and potentially lead to amputation.

“The goal of the Wylie Scholar program is to provide funding to develop outstanding vascular surgeon-scientists who will become leaders in their field,” said Michael S. Conte, M.D., Vascular Cures’ Chief Medical Officer, Professor and Chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at UCSF and Co-Director of the UCSF Heart and Vascular Center. “Dr. Tang’s promising genetic research exemplifies the high quality of scientific inquiry shared by other recipients of this award.”

PAD develops when arteries in the lower limbs become clogged with fatty deposits that limit blood flow. Advanced stages of the disease can lead to critical limb ischemia (CLI), resulting in painful sores, gangrene and limb amputation. Each year CLI results in over 100,000 amputations in the United States. Up to 25% of patients with CLI die within the first year.

To develop better ways to treat this devastating condition, vascular researchers are studying how blood vessels grow particularly when the arteries are blocked. The process known as arteriogenesis is complex and poorly understood. Dr. Tang is investigating the role of the syndecan-1 protein encoded by the SDC1 gene in arteriogenesis.

“My research is focused on understanding how blood vessel growth may be stimulated by syndecan-1,” states Dr. Tang. “This knowledge may help us develop new and better treatments for patients who are at risk of amputation.”

Dr. Tang is Assistant Professor at the University of Washington, where she is working with Alec Clowes, MD, a prominent member of Vascular Cure’s Scientific Advisory Board and the Vascular Cures Research Network. Dr. Tang did her surgical residency at UCSF and worked with Louis Messina, MD and Rong Wang, PhD at the Laboratory for Accelerated Vascular Research, which was founded by Vascular Cures and the Wayne and Gladys Valley Foundation. She completed her vascular surgery fellowship at Northwestern University.

About the Wylie Scholar Award
Vascular Cures’ competitive Wylie Scholar award consists of a three-year, $150,000 grant given to the most promising vascular surgeon-scientists in North America who combine their clinical practices with independent research with the potential to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease. Since 1996, 13 outstanding individuals from prestigious medical centers have been selected as Wylie Scholars and gone on to receive substantial additional funding for their work.

About Vascular Cures
A leader in vascular research, Vascular Cures invests in the development of breakthrough treatments to prevent disability and death from vascular disease. As an entrepreneurial non-profit, Vascular Cures specifically designs its programs to speed the process of getting results to patients. Research by our network of leading vascular surgeon-scientists is advancing the development of powerful new ways to predict, treat and prevent vascular disease.  For more information visit

About the Vascular Cures Research Network
The Vascular Cures Research Network is a national research consortium of leading vascular specialists from world-class medical institutions, who share information and results in order to substantially accelerate the development of new drugs, technologies and predictive tools to improve treatments for vascular disease.