UW News

June 29, 2011

Genetic factor linked to long-term success of leg bypass surgery

Center for Sensorimotor Neural Engineering

Outcomes of bypass surgery to repair blocked arteries in the legs tend to be better in the roughly one-in-five people who have inherited a specific genetic variation from both parents, according to a study presented at the Vascular Annual Meeting in Chicago on June 18.

The new findings may prove useful in weighing treatment options for the estimated eight million people in the U.S. with peripheral artery disease (PAD), a condition that can produce severe disability and lead to amputation.  Treatment options include surgery and/or medication.

Alexander Clowes

Alexander Clowes

Alexander Clowes, UW professor of surgery, and Michael Conte, University of California- San Francisco professor, Division of Vascular & Endovascular Surgery, led the study.  “These studies represent a major breakthrough in our understanding of arteries closing after angioplasty and bypass grafting,” said Clowes. “More importantly, they may help us identify patients at increased risk of treatment failures. These results may also accelerate drug development to prevent re-narrowing of vascular reconstructions.”

Conte and Clowes performed a gene association study in a group of 204 patients who had undergone a leg vein bypass graft.  They tested the patients for a common variation of the gene p27, which is known to control how cells grow. The physicians are members of the Vascular Cures Research Network, a national research consortium.  Members of this team share information and results in order to substantially accelerate the development of new drugs, technologies and predictive tools for vascular disease.

The study was funded partially by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and Vascular Cures.