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The Foundation for Accelerated Vascular Research Grants $150,000 Wylie Scholar Award for Blood Vessel Research
Date:7/8/2008

Vascular Surgeon-Scientist Ulka Sachdev, M.D., Named 2008 Wylie Scholar

SOUTH SAN FRANCISCO, Calif., July 8 /PRNewswire/ -- The Foundation for Accelerated Vascular Research (FAVR) today announced vascular surgeon-scientist Ulka Sachdev, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, has been named the 2008 Wylie Scholar in Academic Vascular Surgery. The $150,000 three-year grant was awarded to support her research in understanding the mechanisms that promote blood vessel growth, and to develop new therapies for people suffering from peripheral arterial disease (PAD). PAD is a vascular condition of the lower limbs affecting 12 million Americans that can lead to amputation.

"The goal of the Wylie Scholar program is to provide funding to develop outstanding surgeon-scientists that demonstrate the potential to accelerate the translation of clinical research into patient treatments," said Charles Versaggi, Ph.D., co-chair of FAVR. "Dr. Sachdev's promising research exemplifies the scientific creativity and dedication that Wylie Scholars share."

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 approximately 150,000 amputations in the United States.

To better understand PAD and ways to treat it, vascular researchers are studying how blood vessels grow. The process known as angiogenesis is complex and poorly understood. Dr. Sachdev is studying a group of molecules called "high-mobility group proteins" (HMGB1) that may act as mediators of angiogenesis.

"My research is directed at developing a better understanding of how HMGB1 may stimulate blood-vessel growth," explained Dr. Sachdev. "This knowledge could allow us to develop revascularization strategies that may reduce the incidents of gangrene, amputations and death."

Dr. Sachdev is assistant professor of surgery in the Division of Vascular Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, where she will be working with 2001 Wylie Scholar Award winner Edith Tzeng, M.D. She is a graduate of Mt. Sinai School of Medicine and completed her vascular surgery fellowship at the Mt. Sinai Medical Center.

About the Wylie Scholar Award

FAVR's annual Wylie Scholar award consists of a three-year, $150,000 grant given to the most promising vascular surgeon-scientists in North America who are dedicated to an academic career involving original novel research. Since 1996, 12 individuals have each received the award. Named in honor of Edwin J. Wylie, M.D., an eminent visionary who established vascular surgical training at UCSF, the award recognizes and financially assists vascular surgeon-scientists conducting independent research that has the potential to revolutionize how vascular diseases are treated or cured. Every FAVR dollar awarded has been leveraged nearly 13-fold by award recipients through additional permanent funding.

About The Foundation for Accelerated Vascular Research

The Foundation for Accelerated Vascular Research is a non-profit medical organization dedicated to accelerating research into the cause, prevention and treatment of vascular disease. Founded in 1982 as the Pacific Vascular Research Foundation by vascular surgeons at the University of California San Francisco (UCSF), the organization recently changed its name to underscore the urgency of its longstanding mission -- to prevent death and disability from vascular disease.

Bridging the gap between scientific discovery and human health, FAVR's novel research model -- the Investigational Collaboration Unit (ICU) -- is harnessing the power of collaboration to link venture philanthropy with research and private industry. Each ICU is the operating unit that applies FAVR's unique "Bedside-to-Bench-and-Back" approach to translating the most promising research into medical practice to improve patient health and quality of life. For more information, see http://www.favresearch.org.


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SOURCE The Foundation for Accelerated Vascular Research
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