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Emory Participates in NIH Network to Study Cardiovascular Disease


Emory University was recently awarded a $1.25 million grant from the National Institute of Health’s National Heart Lung and Blood Institute (NHLBI) to improve current technologies and pioneer new ones to treat cardiovascular disease by participating in the newly formed Cardiothoracic Surgical Trials Network (CTSN).

Emory University was chosen to join this network of eight premier cardiovascular institutions in the US and Canada by an extensive peer-review process. The goal of the CTSN is to foster a culture of rigorous scientific evaluation of newer surgical techniques, technologies, devices, and innovative pharmaceutical and bioengineered products directed at cardiovascular disease.

“This network will be a wonderful benefit to patients and help advance our knowledge and efforts to fight cardiovascular disease,” says John D. Puskas, MD, MS, professor of surgery and associate chief, Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, Emory University School of Medicine.

“It gives leaders in cardiovascular surgery a platform to collaboratively share our ideas and outcomes,” adds Dr. Puskas, principal investigator for the grant.

In 2004, the NHLBI convened a working group of experts in cardiac surgery, including Dr. Puskas, to assess the state of the field and to identify critical gaps in knowledge and areas of opportunity in cardiac surgery research.

The primary recommendation from the group was the formation of the CTSN to help develop a culture of systematic scientific clinical evaluation within the field of cardiac surgery.

The network enables research teams led by cardiac surgeons to evaluate newer therapies and techniques as they move from laboratory science to broad clinical use. It provides the infrastructure to develop, coordinate, and conduct multiple collaborative proof-of-concept clinical studies and interventional protocols to improve cardiovascular disease outcomes. The network steering committee is presently developing clinical research protocols that will be launched in 2008. The Emory team includes co-investigators Drs. Robert Guyton and Vinod Thourani, the staff of the Clinical Research Unit directed by Kim Baio, MSN, and numerous collaborators within Cardiology, Radiology, Neurology and Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health.

For more information on the Emory University’s Division of Cardiothoracic Surgery, visit the division’s web site.


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