Fw: Vascular Research & free screening
--- On Mon, 3/2/09, Jo-Ann Proudian <joann@...> wrote:
From: Jo-Ann Proudian <joann@...>
Subject: Vascular Research Matters
Date: Monday, March 2, 2009, 1:43 PM
Vascular Research Matters (print version attached)
from The Foundation for Accelerated Vascular Research
With over 50,000 miles of arteries and veins in each of us, it’s no wonder that vascular disease and related complications lead to more death in the United States than any other disease. But the Foundation for Accelerated Vascular Research (FAVR) is making a difference. From unlocking the secrets of blood vessel growth to developing new therapies that treat stroke and peripheral artery disease, FAVR is dedicated to resolving problems within our complex system of blood vessels. FAVR researchers labor tirelessly in laboratories throughout North America, and we are proud of their many achievements. This issue of Vascular Research Matters gives you a few examples of the exceptional research projects that FAVR funds and your dollars support.
Stopping Stroke—LAVR Scientists Discover Gene That Likely Causes Brain Arteriovenous Malformations
Research scientists at the Laboratory for Accelerated Vascular Research (LAVR) at UCSF who earlier discovered that the Notch gene controlled whether blood vessels become arteries or veins, have now found that this gene is linked to brain arteriovenous malformation (BAVM). BAVM is a vascular disorder in which arteries and veins are connected directly rather than through capillaries. This direct connection produces enlarged, tangled masses of blood vessels that are prone to rupture, bleeding and stroke. Because they often develop in growing tissue, BAVMs cause half of the hemorrhagic strokes in children and young adults.
Rong Wang, PhD, Director of LAVR, and her team of researchers, including graduate student Patrick A Murphy, hypothesized that the Notch4 gene is a potential cause of BAVMs because of its role in directing embryonic blood vessel formation in mice. Using genetic tools, researchers “turned on” the Notch gene in endothelial cells, which are the cells lining blood vessels in the brain, and demonstrated that BAVMs were induced in 100% of the mice. When researchers turned the gene off, the mice that exhibited stroke-like symptoms experienced full recovery. Their findings were published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Supporting Women in Research
FAVR’s most recent Wylie Scholar, Ulka Sachdev, MD has teamed up with our 2001 Wylie Scholar Edith Tzeng, MD at the University of Pittsburgh to explore the mechanisms that promote blood vessel growth and to develop new therapies for people suffering from peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Affecting 12 million Americans, PAD is a vascular condition of the lower limbs that can lead to amputation.
PAD develops when arteries in the lower limbs become clogged with fatty deposits that limit blood flow. With an aging population, poor diet, high cholesterol, smoking and the increase of diabetes and obesity, the number of people suffering from PAD is on the rise.
Both Dr. Sachdev and Dr. Tzeng are among a handful of women vascular researchers. A recent study by Mass General Hospital published in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that women remain significantly under-represented among medical science investigators. In fact, less than 5% of members of the Society for Vascular Surgery are women. FAVR is proud to promote women in vascular research.
Accelerating Research in PAD
Leg pain, numbness, skin discoloration, open sores that don’t heal— these are all symptoms of peripheral artery disease (PAD). Still, the majority of people with PAD show no symptoms. Recent estimates are that 10–25% of people over 55 years old have PAD.
Diagnosis is critical—PAD increases your risk of heart attack, stroke and cardiovascular disease by 4–5 times. One of the early symptoms of PAD, pain in the leg with walking (claudication), can lead to progressive loss of exercise capacity and diminished quality of life. Advanced stages of the disease can develop into critical limb ischemia (CLI), resulting in painful sores, gangrene and limb amputation. Each year CLI results in approximately 160,000 amputations in the United States.
In addition to medications to control blood pressure, cholesterol (statins) and prevent blood clotting (aspirin or clopidogrel), direct treatments for PAD include angioplasty, stenting, and bypass surgery in the leg. Although such treatments are often successful in the near term, a significant percentage (25% or more) fail within the first year or two. Failure of an operation or intervention to treat PAD often means another more difficult procedure or potentially progressive pain, suffering and amputation. Despite treatment, approximately 30% of those with CLI will either die or lose a limb within 12 months .
Compounding these staggering mortality and morbidity rates, PAD and CLI come with high financial costs and public health implications. According to a recent study by Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, the average cost of the initial treatment and one-year follow-up for PAD patients is over $50,000, approximately 5% more than treating people with heart disease. In 2004, the Sage Group estimated that $10 billion was spent in the U.S. on PAD-related amputations. The continued rise in the prevalence of diabetes and obesity is likely responsible for the 24% relative increase in PAD observed in the U.S. between 1999 and 2004. The sharpest rises have been seen in women and minority populations.
Dr. Michael S. Conte, who oversees the Laboratory for Accelerated Vascular Research (LAVR) at UCSF, is developing a unique translational research program focused on people with PAD. By working directly with patients who suffer from this debilitating disease, Dr. Conte and a distinguished team of basic research scientists, vascular surgeons-scientists, radiologists, and doctors and scientists at UCSF’s Cardiovascular Research Institute will focus on developing pharmacologic, biologic and technological approaches that will change how PAD is treated. In addition, Dr. Conte will explore what genes or biomarkers play a role in the progression of the disease. The goal of this much-needed project is to both improve the quality of life of people suffering from PAD and to ultimately prevent disability and death from PAD.
Free Vascular Screening on Saturday, March 7th
Smoking , diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol are major risk factors for developing PAD and other vascular diseases. If you have any of these risk factors, you should be screened for vascular disease. FAVR offers free vascular screenings at the University of California in San Francisco. Our next screening will take place on Saturday, March 7th.
For information, go to www.favresearch.org or call us at 650-952-6022.
Save a life! Donate today! http://www.favresearch.org/Supporting/Online_Giving/donate.html