Vascular Cures Launches Collaborative Patient-Centered Research Grants

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Redwood City, CA, March 2017 – As part of its mission to advance collaborative relationships across vascular healthcare, Vascular Cures announced the initiation of its Collaborative Patient-Centered Research (CPCR) Grants Program. The awardees are two multi-institutional teams led by Dr. Karen Ho of Northwestern University and Dr. Larry Kraiss at the University of Utah. Each team will receive $100,000 to conduct projects that use shared research resources and will generate results within 1 – 2 years.

Dr. Ho and her team seek to better understand how the presence of different gut flora may contribute to or be an early-warning indicator of atherosclerosis.  The study builds on her earlier work which indicated that metabolites produced by certain gut microbes differ between people with and without with peripheral artery disease (PAD), and that those microbes may correlate to the severity of the disease. The project may enable Dr. Ho and her collaborators at Brigham & Women’s Hospital (Boston), the University of Chicago, and Northwestern University to identify and characterize certain biomarkers of vascular inflammation. 

The second CPCR grant was awarded to Dr. Larry Kraiss and his team to create an assessment tool that helps surgeons and patients better understand the risks of vascular surgery.  Dr. Kraiss hypothesizes that patients might begin to reconsider surgery if they understood that the likelihood of maintaining independent living after one year was less than 50%.  A better assessment tool would improve shared decision-making around the patient’s ability to maintain functional independence post-surgery. Collaborators at the University of Utah, Emory University, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Stanford University and the University of Nebraska will combine data to compare the predictive power of existing patient frailty tests with three alternative instruments. 

The CPCR Grants are an outgrowth of Vascular Cures’ recent national Vascular Research Summit. Fifty-six vascular surgeon scientists from 31 leading North American academic medical centers were invited to jointly discuss and brainstorm projects to address unmet needs in vascular research.   Dr. Ron Stoney, Vascular Cures’ founder, described the grants as “an exciting opportunity that accelerates discovery to significantly improve vascular health.  Their impact will exemplify our vision of ‘An Acute Sense of the Possible.’ ” Attendees were invited to propose multi-center research studies that creatively addressed a common problem and shared resources to perform the project.

Vascular Cures’ Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Michael Conte, who is also the Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at UCSF, said “These summits, together with the Collaborative Patient-Centered Research grants, may lay the groundwork for new structures to yield faster, high impact research results. We believe that overcoming institutional barriers to collaboration will reduce the time from research to improved patient outcomes.” 

 

Vascular Cures Names 2016 Wylie Scholar: Ryan McEnaney, MD, UPMC

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Redwood City, CA, June 16, 2016 — 

Vascular Cures and the Society of Vascular Surgery named Ryan McEnaney, MD, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, as the 2016 Wylie Scholar.

The Wylie Scholar Program, now in its 20th year, awards three-year $150,000 research grants to young vascular surgeon-scientists to pursue innovative basic or clinical research projects. It is one of the most important grants for early-stage scientists as it launches their ability to successfully compete for NIH and other grants. Dr. McEnaney is the 19th Wylie Scholar and the 4th Scholar from UMPC.

“Winning the Wylie Scholar Award is a huge step in launching the careers of young vascular surgeon scientists,” said Michel Makaroun, MD, chief of the Division of Vascular Surgery at UPMC. “Previous winners of this prestigious award are some of our best known and funded vascular researchers. The award provides financial support for initial early research, but more importantly intellectual support for the proposed work. The impact of the award is significant at all levels, providing the recipient with the time to establish himself as an independent researcher, and the division with more resources to support his research efforts.”

Dr. McEnaney’s research may ultimately lead to the development of medical therapies to unblock arteries for patients for whom surgical procedures are not an option. Diseases involving blocked arteries are one of the leading causes of death and disability in North America. Fortunately, arteries retain remarkable plasticity so smaller blood vessels can become larger collateral vessels to bypass blocked arteries. Dr. McEnaney aims to understand the biochemical mechanisms that signal a collateral artery to grow sufficiently to accommodate larger blood flow and substitute for the blocked artery.

“I am honored to receive this award – a major milestone in my career as a surgeon and scientist,” said Dr. McEnaney. “I am also humbled to now be listed among the distinguished group of prior recipients. It’s a tremendous accomplishment to receive the award, as well as a great responsibility to carry on its tradition of excellence. I thank the review committee for granting me this opportunity.”

The Wylie Scholar program was established in 1996 by Vascular Cures, a national non-profit advancing innovation in healthcare and research for diseases outside the heart. The program’s$8 million dollar investment has generated a 16:1 return in subsequent funding for the scholars and their institutions. The program is co-sponsored by the Society for Vascular Surgery.

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About Vascular Cures

Vascular Cures is the only national non-profit representing the millions of patients with vascular disease. For more than 30 years, it has transformed patient lives through support of innovative research and programs that advance patient-centered healthcare.

 

PAD - A Mother's Story

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Redwood City, CA, May 8, 2016 — 

Betty Heck was a vibrant, healthy 80-year-old woman. Sadly, her life ended too early when a simple foot sore led to amputation and death. "My mom had a zest for life like no one I've ever met," says Heck's daughter Tammy Leitsinger. "Except for diabetes, which she managed closely, and rheumatoid arthritis, she was in good health." Betty was one of the thousands of Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) sufferers who only exhibit symptoms when it reaches the advanced stage. This late diagnosis led to her death.

Betty began noticing pain in her left foot, which she first attributed to arthritis. When a sore appeared, both her primary care doctor and podiatrist misdiagnosed it as ringworm and then nail fungus. Her daughter, who works in the medical industry and specializes in PAD awareness, recognized the red flags. "When she took her shoe off, I was stunned because she had a large, black necrotic ulcer on her foot," says Leitsinger. Although it was a clear sign of severely blocked bloodflow, her doctor said that procedures to address it were impossible. "He told me her vessels were like porcelain," remembers Leitsinger. "He said she would need to have a below-the-knee amputation." 

Not long after her amputation, an infection gained ground and she passed away.  Tammy is determined that her mother's experience will help save others. "I promised her right before she died that this would not be in vain; early detection is critical," says Leitsinger.

Sharing your story will help bring awareness and in turn, action for more research into Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD). We want to hear your story.

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Vascular diseases outside the heart have reached epidemic proportions and include stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), aneurysms, hypertension and atherosclerosis. The effects of aging, diabetes, and obesity are taking their toll on the population. PAD alone affects 200 million people worldwide and increased by 25% in the last decade. Vascular Cures, based in the Redwood City, California, leads the efforts to develop breakthrough innovations in the treatment of these chronic diseases.

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About Vascular Cures

Vascular Cures is the only national non-profit representing the millions of patients with vascular disease. For more than 30 years, it has transformed patient lives through support of innovative research and programs that advance patient-centered healthcare. For more information, visit www.vascularcures.org.

 

Leader in Vascular Health Launches Digital Platform to Transform Research and Care

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Back Row L to R:  Tim Robb, Vascular Cures Project Manager, Tim Craven, Wake Forest Senior Biostatistician, Dr. Matthew Corriere, MD, Wake Forest Associate Professor of Surgery, Vascular and Endovascular Surgery

Front Row L to R: Catherine Bonetti, Vascular Cures Patient Engagement Manager, Wendy Hitchcock, CEO Vascular Cures, Donna Keith, Project Manager, Wake Forest Vascular and Endovascular Surgery Research, Rob Paris, Wake Forest Clinical Research Coordinator

Redwood City, CA, March 31, 2016 — Vascular Cures, the only national non-profit focused on transforming research into vascular health, announced the launch of its latest initiative, Project Voice.  A pilot study at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center in North Carolina is being led by Matthew Corriere, MD, Associate Professor of Surgery, to help patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a disease that afflicts more than 10 million Americans.

Project Voice enables unique collaborations across the spectrum of vascular care. It brings the latest in digital health technology to the unique needs of the vascular health community leading to improved patient engagement­­, more powerful research and a communication bridge between patients and doctors. Project Voice provides a mobile app and web portal, interactive resources and multiple fitness trackers to increase patient control, promote shared decision making and improve research results by adding patient-reported outcomes to clinical data sets.

"The lack of patient-reported outcomes data is a critical gap in both the development of new treatments and ongoing care", said Michael Conte MD, Chief of Vascular and Endovascular Surgery at UCSF and Vascular Cures' Chief Medical Officer. "PAD and its consequences, including disability, amputation and death, have reached a crisis stage, and we urgently need more powerful tools."

The technology for Project Voice is provided by MedHelp/Aptus Health, a global digital heath engagement partner for life sciences companies, payers, employers, and health systems. The MedHelp platform is integrated with over 120 wireless health devices and trackers, and offers health management tools and peer communities.

Dr. Matthew Corriere says "Project Voice is a powerful tool to improve both medical care and research. When patients are actively engaged in managing their health, they are more likely to communicate important symptoms and share their goals for treatment. Patient-reported outcomes are crucial to include in both care decisions and research studies." Dr. Corriere, who was the 2014 recipient of Vascular Cures' Wylie Scholar award, is the national program leader for Project Voice.

Project Voice is more than a digital health tracker. It also offers patients access to an on-line community of PAD sufferers and educational tools such as videos and articles to help them understand their disease.  Project Voice surrounds them with support to become more engaged in their treatments. According to a 2012 study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, this is important because "when you make it easy for people to capture and share information from their lives, they feel empowered to take a more active role in their health."

Vascular diseases outside the heart have reached epidemic proportions and include stroke, peripheral artery disease (PAD), aneurysms, hypertension and atherosclerosis. The effects of aging, diabetes, and obesity are taking their toll on the population. PAD alone affects 200 million people worldwide and increased by 25% in the last decade. Vascular Cures, based in the Redwood City, California, leads the efforts to develop breakthrough innovations in the treatment of these chronic diseases.

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About Vascular Cures

Vascular Cures is the only national non-profit representing the millions of patients with vascular disease. For more than 30 years, it has transformed patient lives through support of innovative research and programs that advance patient-centered healthcare. For more information, visit www.vascularcures.org.

About the Wylie Scholar Award

Vascular Cures' Wylie Scholar Program, launched in 1996, provides early career support to outstanding academic vascular surgeon-scientists. Recipients have become chiefs of their divisions and world-class leaders in the field, obtaining on average a 16:1 return in national funding subsequent to the original grant. The award has fueled studies to develop new drugs, innovative therapies and novel medical devices.  Projects include identifying ways to: grow new blood vessels, which can help soldiers who experienced blast injuries in combat as well as patients with vascular disease; prevent abnormal cell growth following angioplasty and stents; prevent blood clots and deep vein thrombosis (DVT); reduce the problems of wound healing experienced by diabetic patients; and provide technology to better engage patients in shared decision-making with their doctors. Since 2014, the award has been co-sponsored by the Society of Vascular Surgery (SVS) Foundation.

 

VASCULAR CURES ADDS TWO NEW SCIENTIFIC ADVISORY BOARD MEMBERS

Paul M. Ridker, MD is the Eugene Braunwald Professor of Medicine at The Harvard Medical School and directs the Center for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, a translational research unit at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston. He also serves on the Board of External Experts for the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute. Dr. Ridker’s research focuses on inflammatory biomarkers and novel strategies for cardiovascular disease detection and prevention.

Dr. Ridker is best known for his work developing the inflammatory hypothesis of heart disease, the clinical application of C-reactive protein (hsCRP) testing to better evaluate cardiovascular risk, and the demonstration in the JUPITER trial that statin therapy is highly effective at reducing heart attack and stroke. He is the author of over 450 original reports, 170 reviews and book chapters, and 5 textbooks related to cardiovascular medicine. Dr. Ridker is a co-inventor on a series of patents filed by the Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School that relate to the use of inflammatory biomarkers in cardiovascular disease.

Charles N. Serhan, PhD is Director of the Center for Experimental Therapeutics and Reperfusion Injury (CET&RI) at Brigham and Women's Hospital, and a Professor of Anesthesia at Harvard Medical School, affiliated with the Department of Biological Chemistry and Molecular Pharmacology. Dr. Serhan is working on cellular and molecular mechanisms that are involved in the control of local inflammatory processes.

Since inflammation plays a role in many organs and diseases, understanding this control is key to unlocking potential new treatments for diseases where chronic inflammation is thought to play a critical role. These include cardiovascular diseases, auto-immune diseases, arthritis and Alzheimer's disease. The molecules that Dr. Serhan and colleagues are working on can serve as bio-templates for creating designer therapies to stimulate resolution of inflammation and disease.

 

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