VASCULAR CURES GRANTS $150,000 WYLIE SCHOLAR AWARD FOR TREATMENT OF IMPAIRED DIABETIC WOUND HEALING

Redwood City, Calif., June 18, 2012 – Vascular Cures, a leading non-profit investing in research to develop breakthrough treatments for vascular disease, announced that Katherine Gallagher, M.D., Assistant Professor of Surgery at the University of Michigan, has received the 2012 Wylie Scholar award. The $150,000 grant was awarded to help fund studies of the role of stem cells and inflammation in diabetic wounds, in order to design novel therapeutic agents. “Delayed wound healing for diabetics can be extremely dangerous,” 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. “Vascular problems related to skyrocketing rates of diabetes and obesity cause over 100,000 amputations per year in the US. Dr. Gallagher’s innovative research can drive new treatments to save lives and limbs.”

Diabetes is a chronic disease which can lead to a number of complications, including some that make it harder for wounds to heal. A diabetic wound may cause so much damage to tissue and bone that amputation becomes the only option. Dr. Gallagher’s laboratory is currently evaluating the role of inflammation and immune cell function in diabetic wounds.

 

“Stem cells from the bone marrow play a key role in wound healing,” says Dr. Gallagher. “My lab focuses on the molecular changes in these cells in diabetic patients and how this influences healing.  Identifying these alterations will allow for the development of immune therapies targeting specific proteins involved in this process.”  Since diabetes and vascular disease are so closely linked, Dr. Gallagher’s research has the potential to impact millions of patients and significantly improve their quality of life.

About the Wylie Scholar Award

Vascular Cures’ competitive Wylie Scholar award consists of a three-year, $150,000 award designed to support patient-based translational research – the best route to faster discoveries. It is given to the most promising vascular surgeon-scientists in North America who combine their clinical practices with independent research in order to revolutionize the diagnosis and treatment of vascular disease. Since 1996, 15 outstanding individuals from prestigious medical centers have been selected as Wylie Scholars and gone on to become key leaders in the field.

 

NIH BIOBANKING EXPERT JOINS VASCULAR CURES SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD

Media Contact: Wendy R. Hitchcock
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Jodi B. Black, PhD, MMSc, National Leader in Cardiovascular and Genomics Research
January 25, 2012 – Vascular Cures, a non-profit leader in developing innovative treatments for vascular disease, announced that Dr. Jodi B. Black has joined its Scientific Advisory Board. Dr. Black is Deputy Director, Division of Extramural Research Activities (DERA) for the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NHLBI provides global leadership to promote research into the prevention, treatment and understanding of heart, lung, and blood diseases. AsDeputy Director for DERA, Dr. Black provides scientific and management oversight of the NHLBI’s $2.8 billion research portfolio.

“We want to change the way we care for patients by developing treatments that address their unique genetic and biological makeup,” said Michael S. Conte, MD, Vascular Cures’ Chief Medical Officer and Chief of the Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at the University of California, San Francisco. “This is the aim of the Vascular Cures Research Network (VCRN), a multi-institutional research consortium creating the first national vascular biobank of tissues from 2000 patients. Dr. Black’s unique expertise in translational and genomics research and multi-disciplinary scientific programs will be of tremendous value in accelerating this program.”

“The Vascular Cures Research Network and biobank have the potential to transform how we treat and prevent vascular disease,” said Dr. Black. “Collaboration between world-class institutions and a robust biobank are the best way to drive innovation in personalized medicine for vascular disease, and I’m very happy to be part of the leadership team.”

Dr. Black also serves as the Acting Director of the NHLBI Office of Translational Alliances and Coordination, and is on the Program Committee for the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER), promoting innovation, quality and ethical standards for global biobanking.

The first project of the Vascular Cures Research Network is to determine the factors affecting vascular healing after treatments to restore blood flow in the legs. The most common treatments for patients with blocked arteries are angioplasty, stents and bypass surgery, but up to half of these fail within a few years due to abnormal healing and scarring, requiring repeat procedures that are expensive and traumatizing to patients. Dr. Conte and a collaborator from VCRN recently identified the first genetic marker to predict outcomes of patients undergoing bypass surgery in the legs.

About the Vascular Cures Research Network (VCRN)
The Vascular Cures Research Network is the first national vascular research consortium of vascular specialists at world-class medical institutions. Members of this collaborative team are sharing information and results in order to accelerate the development of new drugs, technologies and predictive tools to improve treatments for vascular disease.

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, the #1 cause of disability and death. Strokes, heart attacks, aneurysms, peripheral artery disease (PAD), blood clots, and pulmonary embolisms are all the result of problems along the vascular “highways” in the body. Research by our network of leading surgeon-scientists is advancing the development of powerful new ways to predict, treat and prevent vascular disease. For more information visit www.vascularcures.org.

 

VASCULAR CURES GRANTS $150,000 WYLIE SCHOLAR AWARD FOR BLOOD VESSEL RESEARCH

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 www.vascularcures.org.

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.

 

FIRST GENETIC MARKER IDENTIFIED TO PREDICT OUTCOMES OF TREATMENTS IN PATIENTS WITH PERIPHERAL ARTERY DISEASE

Leg Bypass Surgery, Angioplasty, and Stents Currently Fail Up To 50 Percent of the Time

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Michael S. Conte, MDJune 18, 2011 – Vascular Cures, a leading non-profit investing in research to develop breakthrough treatments for vascular disease, announced results that indicate there may be a genetic basis for the varying outcomes of bypass surgery in the legs.  Results were presented today by Michael S. Conte, M.D., of the University of California, San Francisco in a late-breaking clinical trial session at the 2011 Society for Vascular Surgery Annual Meeting in Chicago. Click here for a copy of the presentation.

Bypass surgery, angioplasty and stents are all used to treat blockages caused by peripheral artery disease (PAD). Current estimates are that more than 8 million Americans have PAD, a condition that can produce severe disability and lead to amputation. Hundreds of thousands of procedures are performed each year in the U.S. to improve leg circulation in patients suffering from PAD, yet up to half of these fail within a few years due to excessive scarring that leads to reduced blood flow.  The reasons for the variability in the outcome of PAD treatments have been poorly understood. 

Led by vascular surgeons Dr. Conte and Alec Clowes, M.D. at the University of Washington, the team demonstrated a potential genetic basis for why some patients experience blockage of their bypass grafts faster and more frequently than others.

“The results of this study, together with similar findings in a Dutch study of patients who underwent coronary stent angioplasty (van Tiel et al, 2009), strongly support the hypothesis that the formation of scar tissue in blood vessels is genetically regulated by the gene p27,” stated Dr. Conte.

Dr. Conte is Chief of UCSF’s Division of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery and Chief Medical Officer of Vascular Cures. Dr. Clowes is Professor of Surgery at the University of Washington and Vice Chair for Research in the Department of Surgery.

Alec Clowes, MD“These studies represent a major breakthrough in our understanding of arteries closing after angioplasty and bypass grafting,” added Dr. Clowes. “More importantly, they may help us identify patients at increased risk of treatment failures. These results may also accelerate drug development to prevent renarrowing of vascular reconstructions.”

Members of the Vascular Cures Research Network, Dr. Conte and Dr. Clowes performed a gene association study in a group of 204 patients who had undergone leg vein bypass grafting, testing them for a common variation of the gene p27, which is known to control how cells grow. Patients with the -838AA genotype (17% of the patients) were 2.5 times more likely to have a successful graft over patients with either of the more common -838AC or -838CC genotypes. This result remained significant even when controlling for age, gender, diabetes and other clinical factors known to influence surgical outcomes. The study was funded partially by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Vascular Cures.

About PAD 
Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a build-up of plaque in the arteries of the leg and is a rapidly growing problem.  PAD can cause significant pain and disability and affects more than 8 million Americans, requiring hundreds of thousands of surgeries and leading to over 80,000 amputations each year.  The treatments used today to improve blood flow in patients with PAD are bypass surgery, angioplasty and stents.  While often successful initially, these interventions frequently need to be repeated due to abnormal scar formation that causes re-narrowing of the artery or graft. The failure rates of angioplasty and stents are as high as 50 percent within one to two years, and half of all bypass procedures fail within five years.

About the Vascular Cures Research Network
The Vascular Cures Research Network is a national research consortium of up to 12 world-class medical institutions.  Members of this collaborative team share information and results in order to substantially accelerate the development of new drugs, technologies and predictive tools to improve treatments for vascular disease.

Advances in genomics are putting the dream of individualized medicine within reach, identifying genetic profiles and biomarkers that predict disease or response to treatment. These discoveries rely on specialized analyses of tissue from large numbers of patients, maintained in a "biobank." Vascular Cures is building the first national vascular biobank of blood and tissues from thousands of patients. The Vascular Cures Research Network and biobank will be a resource for researchers throughout the world for decades to come.

To learn more, watch this video about the Vascular Cures Research Network.

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.

See UCSF's press release.

See University of Washington's announcement. 

 

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