Research conducted by the Section of Vascular Surgery includes basic, translational and clinical investigations.

Basic research in the Vascular Surgery Research Laboratory involves studies funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) that are focused on the molecular and cellular mechanisms of abdominal aortic aneurysms, led by Robert W. Thompson, MD. Particular areas of interest are the role of inflammatory mediators, matrix-degrading proteinases, the effect of glycation and smooth muscle cell dysfunction in vascular disease, using both human tissues and experimental animal models. In addition to achieving better understanding of vascular disease mechanisms, the Vascular Surgery Research Laboratory is involved in translational clinical studies aimed at the development and evaluation of novel therapeutic approaches. The section has played a major role in the NIH/NHLBI-Sponsored Specialized Center for Clinically Oriented Research on Metabolic Syndrome and Vascular Disease at Washington University, a program supporting clinical studies to define the influence of metabolic syndrome on aortic aneurysms and a comprehensive core infrastructure for conducting translational clinical studies in patients with aneurysms and other forms of vascular disease.

The vascular surgery faculty are also major contributors and organizers of the Non-Invasive Treatment of Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Clinical Trial (N-TA3CT). This NIH/NIA-sponsored multicenter randomized clinical trial will determine the effectiveness of doxycycline treatment to slow the growth of small AAAs. Major portions of the scientific underpinnings of this trial have been developed through the work done by the Vascular Surgery Research Laboratory. Dr. Thompson is a clinical site director for enrollment of patients at Washington University into the study.

Clinical research is another active interest in the Section of Vascular Surgery, with ongoing projects on the endovascular treatment of aneurysmal and occlusive arterial disease conducted by by members of the section. The section currently participates in multiple clinical trials of minimally invasive devices in collaboration with industry. Most recently, there has been increased emphasis on patient outcomes research with investigations evaluating the comparative effectiveness of open and endovascular procedures.

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