Overwriting blood vessel identity to prevent graft failure
Northern Ireland Grant – Dr Denise McDonald, Queen’s University Belfast
Summary: One of the current treatments for coronary heart disease is bypass surgery where a grafted blood vessel is used to bypass a blocked coronary artery in the heart. However, the grafted blood vessel itself often becomes blocked. This project will investigate new ways of preventing vein graft failure and improving the success of CABG surgery for treating patients with CHD.
Coronary heart disease (CHD) occurs when one or more of the blood vessels that supplies the heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood becomes blocked. Untreated, this can lead to angina, heart attack and heart failure. One of the current treatments is coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery where a grafted blood vessel is used to bypass the blockage, restoring blood flow to the heart. Although CABG is very effective, over time the grafted blood vessel itself often becomes blocked. However, the reasons for the development of this so called vein graft disease are not well understood.
There is evidence, however, that it is possible to alter the characteristics of blood vessels to make them more resilient, so that they are less prone to becoming blocked and failing. Dr McDonald and her team have discovered two key compounds that are important in promoting such characteristics. Using a range of different laboratory models, the team will investigate the interaction between these chemicals in order to develop novel ways of protecting blood vessels from graft failure.
By gaining a better understanding of this important interaction, the aim is to prevent vein graft failure and improve the success of CABG surgery for treating patients with CHD.