Each year VascularCures offers a 3-year grant worth $150,000--the Wylie Scholar in Academic Vascular Surgery Award--to develop talented surgeon-scientists to be leaders in vascular medicine. To date 13 scholars from 11 world-class institutions have received these awards. McGowan Institute for Regenerative Medicine
faculty member Bryan Tillman, MD, PhD (pictured), Assistant Professor, Division of Vascular Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medicine Center, was chosen as the 2010 Wylie Scholar Award recipient. Dr. Tillman is investigating why vascular bypass grafts fail. Watch Dr. Tillman explain his research efforts here.
A bypass graft is a medical procedure in which a vein graft from another part of the body or a graft made from artificial material is used to create a detour around a blocked artery. A primary treatment for people suffering from blood flow blockages in the legs or a mechanism used in dialysis for treating kidney disease, vascular bypass grafts often fail over time. Half of all artificial grafts fail within a year and vein grafts fail in up to 30% of cases in 3 to 24 months. Failure of vascular bypass grafts is a primary cause of limb loss and death among patients.
Dr. Tillman believes particular stem cells contribute to this failure. He will examine if removing these cells for a short period of time can prevent graft failure in an established model of vessel reconstruction. The results may lead to a novel therapy to prevent the complications of vascular failure, thereby improving outcomes for hundreds of thousands of patients each year.
“As a doctor, it is heartbreaking to see patients who endured surgery and then have to bear the hardship of another surgery or a limb amputation because the treatment that you gave did not last,” explains Dr. Tillman. “And it’s frustrating, knowing that this approach is currently the best option. If the best treatment option fails in nearly half of the patients, there has to be a better way.”
The Wylie Scholar Award in Academic Vascular Surgery was established in memory of Dr. Edwin Jack Wylie, a pioneering vascular surgeon who recognized that operations to treat vascular diseases were limited, and that increased efforts in basic research would expand our understanding of the fundamental aspects of vascular diseases. These efforts would lead to safer, more effective surgical techniques, less invasive procedures, better treatments, and ultimately to the prevention of, even cures for, these life-threatening diseases.
VascularCures' annual Wylie Scholar award consists of a 3-year, $150,000 grant given to the most promising vascular surgeon scientists in North America who are dedicated to an academic career involving original, innovative basic laboratory investigation. The foundation envisions that this award will enable the recipient to devote a significant amount of his or her total effort towards fundamental vascular research over a sustained period, thereby helping the recipient to qualify for independent funding from national health agencies.
VascularCures: Current Wylie Scholar Award Recipient, Dr. Bryan Tillman
VascularCures Fall 2010 Newsletter (page 3)
Bio: Dr. Bryan Tillman