Milwaukee (8/23/2012) - The Medical College of Wisconsin (MCW) received a four-year, $2.5 million award from the National Institutes of Health's National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to develop a more precise clinical test for predicting a patient's risk of developing heart disease.
Kirkwood A. Pritchard, Ph.D., professor of surgery, pharmacology and toxicology and director of translational vascular biology program at MCW and a member of the Children's Hospital Research Institute, is the principal investigator for the grant. Dr. Pritchard's co-principal investigator is Mary G. Sorci-Thomas, Ph.D., professor of pathology and lipid sciences at Wake Forest University School of Medicine in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Heart disease is the leading cause of death in Wisconsin, resulting in more than 16,000 deaths annually-- approximately one-third of all deaths in the state. The prevalence of this disease may increase as rates of obesity and hypertension are predicted to rise in Wisconsin.
This research seeks to aid physicians in predicting and preventing heart disease. Recent studies have shown the importance of measuring the function of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, known as "good" cholesterol. Measuring HDL function is more accurate than traditional tests, which measure HDL levels, at predicting which patients will develop heart disease. Current tests for the function of HDL cholesterol are complex and too cumbersome to be useful in a clinical setting.
Dr. Pritchard and Dr. Sorci-Thomas will work to develop novel tests for HDL functionality that are simpler and less time-consuming for practitioners in a clinical setting. Their work may lead to a better diagnostic tool for predicting a person's risk of heart disease, which would meet a great need in helping prevent and effectively treat heart disease.
About the Medical College of Wisconsin
The Medical College of Wisconsin is the state's only private medical school and health sciences graduate school. Founded in 1893, it is dedicated to leadership and excellence in education, patient care, research and service. More than 1,200 students are enrolled in the Medical College's medical school and graduate school programs. A major national research center, it is the largest research institution in the Milwaukee metro area and second largest in Wisconsin. In FY 2010 – 11, faculty received more than $175 million in external support for research, teaching, training and related purposes, of which more than $161 million is for research. This total includes highly competitive research and training awards from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Annually, College faculty direct or collaborate on more than 2,200 research studies, including clinical trials. Additionally, more than 1,350 physicians provide care in virtually every specialty of medicine for more than 400,000 patients annually.
About Children's Hospital of Wisconsin
Children's Hospital of Wisconsin is the region's only independent health care system dedicated solely to the health and well-being of children. The hospital, with locations in Milwaukee and Neenah, Wis. is recognized as one of the leading pediatric health care centers in the United States. Children's Hospital provides primary care, specialty care, urgent care, emergency care, community health services, foster and adoption services, child and family counseling, child advocacy services and family resource centers. In 2010, Children's Hospital invested more than $105 million in the community to improve the health status of children through medical care, advocacy, education and pediatric medical research. Children's Hospital achieves its mission in part through donations from individuals, corporations and foundations and is proud to be a Children's Miracle Network Hospital. For more information, visit the website at chw.org.