Cardiovascular disease is the No. 1 killer in the United States, taking more than one million lives annually. We at the Medical College of Wisconsin have made research aimed at understanding and curing heart, lung and blood vessel diseases a top priority.
The Medical College of Wisconsin Cardiovascular Center's mission is to further develop strong and nationally recognized interdisciplinary cardiovascular research programs at MCW and to promote comparable excellence in clinical care and education while developing Community outreach.
More than 170 faculty physicians and research scientists drawn from many departments and divisions throughout the College are focused on the prevention, detection, treatment and cure of the large family of cardiovascular diseases, including diseases of the heart and lung, kidneys, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. These scientists and physicians have achieved significant accomplishments, including the identification of:
- Processes that induce the growth of additional blood vessels in the heart
- Regulators of pulmonary, vascular and airway elasticity related to asthma and hypertension
- Cell mediators that regulate circulation
- A new role for astrocytes, large cells in the nervous tissue
- How blood sugar plays an important role in determining how much damage a heart attack will cause
- New genes associated with high blood pressure and heart disease in African-Americans
- Women who exercise to the point that they develop amenorrhea (no longer have menstrual periods) run the risk of developing osteoporosis and cardiovascular problems
Philanthropy plays an important role in advancing the work of the Cardiovascular Center and the patients who receive its benefits.
Private philanthropy has been used by the Cardiovascular Center to provide seed funding to bright, new investigators for their start-up research projects. A seed funding grant allows researchers to develop baseline research results and that in turn positions them competitively to receive U.S. National Institutes of Health or National Heart, Lung and Blood Disease Institute awards. Currently, seed fund grant recipients receive $50 of competitive funding for every $1 of philanthropy invested.
Private benefactors have also provided important recruitment funding needed to attract excellent faculty members to conduct research, provide care and implement community outreach and education. Recruitment funding has allowed the Cardiovascular Center to recruit postdoctoral fellows and faculty to conduct research. Endowed professorships have allowed the Cardiovascular Center to identify and develop programs
around multidisciplinary themes.