Creighton receives $2.58 million to explore novel cardiovascular treatment

Omaha, NE – A Creighton University researcher has been awarded a $2.58 million grant by the National Institutes of Health to explore a new treatment for patients with cardiovascular disease.

Dr. Devendra Agrawal is a Professor of Biomedical Sciences. He says the current treatment for cardiovascular patients involves inserting a wire mesh stent into the blocked artery to keep it open. Dr. Agrawal says the main problem with that treatment is sometimes the arteries close or grow over the stent. This is known as restenosis.

Dr. Agrawal and his team of researchers have isolated a novel gene that may provide a solution, "We deliver this gene and then look at the response in the long term, six months, eight months, and one year later. And if it works out there is no restenosis, I think that will be a very good sign that this might be very useful for the better management of our patients with coronary artery disease."

The gene will initially be tested on pigs with human trials set to go in about four years. Dr. Agrawal says the gene therapy could be a viable treatment 5 to 7 years in the future.