Peripheral artery disease (PAD) and abdominal aortic aneurysms (AAA) cause significant disability and mortality. Improved technologies have enabled less-invasive treatments, but their long-term effectiveness is limited and new interventions are often necessary. Currently, AAA patients are treated surgically with endovascular aneurysm repair (EVAR) but approximately 25% of patients still have persistent AAA growth and remain at risk for rupture – fatal 90% of the time.
Multiple studies suggest certain molecules in our blood influence vascular repair and may serve as biomarkers to predict a positive, or negative, outcome. The goal of each program is to identify biomarkers of poor response to procedures, to improve the patient prognosis and identify new targets for future drugs. There will be two teams of established clinician-scientists at four leading academic medical centers, supported by a shared core laboratory and computational resources at UCSF.
The PAD project will be conducted at UCSF (Michael Conte, MD) and the University of Florida (Scott Berceli, MD); their earlier VCRN work provides key insights in terms of the inflammatory response. The AAA project will be conducted at UPMC (Edith Tzeng, MD) and Vanderbilt University (John Curci, MD).
The impact on patient lives would be enormous if we could identify the biological factors (biomarkers) that predict the success or failure of these procedures for individual patients. These projects have the potential to enable major progress toward the ultimate development of such tests.