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Dr. Pritchard Receives NIH Grant - Prevention of artery-blocking disease studied
Feb. 22, 2011 College News - The Medical College of Wisconsin received a two-year grant of more than $400,000 from the National Institutes of Health’s National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to develop novel drugs to prevent the buildup of atherosclerotic plaque in arteries.
Kirkwood A. Pritchard, Jr., PhD, Professor of Pediatrics (Pediatric Surgery) at the Medical College and researcher at Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin and the BloodCenter of Wisconsin, is principal investigator for the grant.
Atherosclerosis is a disease caused by the buildup of fat deposits in arteries, such as cholesterol, and is responsible for more deaths in the United States than any other condition. The disease, which can affect any artery in the body, including heart, brain, arms and legs, can result in a variety of diseases, including coronary heart disease. Risk factors include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes, obesity and physical inactivity.
Myeloperoxidase, or MPO, plays an important role in the oxidation of the fat that builds up in the blood vessels. Dr. Pritchard will explore different inhibitors of MPO activity to prevent oxidation of the fat that builds up in the artery, which increases plaque formation.
Dr. Pritchard’s research may uncover new treatments to prevent heart disease caused by atherosclerosis. The findings from these studies may also be useful for treating other diseases where MPO has been reported to play an important role, such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, inflammatory bowel disease, kidney disease, rheumatoid arthritis and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.