Welcome to our Cardiology Research site
The Division of Cardiology at UTMB Health pursues academic cardiology consisting of exemplary patient care, education, and research. Our research is both clinical and basic. Through clinical research we test new medications and therapies for future clinical use. Also, included in clinical research is translational research where innovation and discovery at bench is brought to bedside. Basic research in the Division of Cardiology focuses on fortilin, a novel anti-apoptotic molecule that has been implicated in atherosclerogenesis. We invite you to discover more about our research through this site.
Clinical and Translational Research Effort
at Division of Cardiology
Clinical Research Office
Location: John Sealy Annex 5.110-A (Mail Route 0553)
Staff at Clinical Research Office
Janet Allen, RN
Research Nurse Coordinator
Elizabeth Gonzalez, MS
Clinical Research Coordinator
Clinical Research Projects and Trials
- SOLID-TIMI52 (The Stabilization of Plaques using Darapladib-Thrombolysis in Myocardial Infarction 52 Trial).
- ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT01000727
- Sponsoring Agency: GlaxoSmithKline
- Date: 6/1/2010 - Current
- Synopsis: This study is evaluating the safety and tolerability of a new drug in patients admitted with acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Patients will include those with unstable angina, STEMI and NSTEMI. It is felt the study drug will promote stability of plaque in the coronary arteries and reduce vascular inflammation in patients with coronary heart disease. Length of study participation is 36 months.
- SALACIA (Effects of Tolvaptan vs Fluid Restriction in Hospitalized Subjects With DilutionalHyponatremia)
- ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT01227512
- Sponsoring Agency: Otsuka Pharmaceutical.
- Date: 10/1/2011 - Current
- Synopsis: The superiority of tolvaptan compared to fluid restriction and the possible reduction in length of hospital stay for patients with hyponatremia are being evaluated in this study. Hospitalized patients, 18 years of age and older, with significant symptoms of hyponatremia will be recruited for enrollment. Patients will be on study treatment for up to 7 days while hospitalized, and be followed for an additional 14 days.
- IMPROVE-IT (IMProved REduction of Outcome: Vytorin Efficacy International Trial (IMPROVE IT) A Multicienter, Double-Blind, Randomized Study to Establish the Clinical Benefit and Safety of Vytorin (ezetimibe/simbastatin)vs Simbastatin Monotherapy in High Risk Patients Presenting with Acute Coronary Syndrome).
- ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT00202878
- Sponsoring Agency: Schering Plough
- Date: 05/16/2006 - Current
- Synopsis: The safety and clinical benefit of Vytorin compared to simvastatin in patients admitted with ACS, either unstable angina or acute MI, are being evaluated in this study. Enrollment of new subjects is now closed and currently enrolled patients will be followed through the length of the study.
- Obesity Paradox in CHF (Skeletal Muscle Microvascular Perfusion and the Obesity Paradox in Congestive Heart Failure).
- ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NA
- Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Health
- Date: 10/05/2010 - Current
- Synopsis: The microvascular perfusion of skeletal muscle, in patients with congestive heart failure (CHF), is being studied through the analysis of biopsies taken from skeletal muscle tissue in cachectic patients and obese patients who have CHF.
- PRECISION (A Randomized, Double Blind, Parallel-Group Study of Cardiovascular Safety in Osteoarthitis or Rheumatoid Arthritis Patients With or at High Risk for Cardiovascular Disease Comparing Celecoxib with Naproxen and Ibuprofen).
- ClinicalTrials.gov ID: NCT00346216
- Sponsoring Agency: Pfizer
- Date: 03/01/2007 - Current
- Synopsis: The effectiveness of celebrex and ibuprofen compared to naproxen is being evaluated in this study in patients with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis who have established cardiovascular disease (CVD) or are at high risk for CVD. Length of study participation is 42 months.
Basic Science Research Effort at Division of Cardiology
Laboratory Location: Medical Research Building (MRB 7.166)
Laboratory Telephone: 409.772.5870, 5871, 5872, and 5873.
Members of Cardiology Basic Science Research Laboratory
Decha Pinkaew, Ph.D.
Wei Lui, Ph.D.
Abhijnan Chattopadhyay, MS
Graduate Student, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Barbara Rolls, MS
Graduate Student, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Fortilin and Atherosclerosis:
Atherosclerosis is the leading cause of death in the US. Despite extensive use of treatment regimens aimed at optimizing lipid levels, about half of patients with acute myocardial infarction seen in emergency departments have normal lipid profiles, suggesting that the eradication of atherosclerosis and its complications calls for not only statin therapy but also the development of innovative treatment regimens. Since its inception in 1997, Fujise's lab has studied fortilin and its role in vascular biology. The lab first reported that fortilin is an anti-apoptotic molecule that interacts with MCL1, an anti-apoptotic Bcl-2 family member protein critical for macrophage survival. Furthermore, the lab showed that fortilin message levels are significantly higher in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD); and that atherosclerotic plaques over express fortilin. In addition, the lab discovered that DHA, an artemisinin derivative, binds to and facilitates degradation of fortilin. In the laboratory, we explore (a) the basic mechanism of action of fortilin, (b) the role of fortilin in atherosclerogenesis, (c) the use of fortilin as a biomarker of coronary artery disease, (d) the use of DHA-derivatives for the prevention and treatment of atherosclerosis. Research on fortilin and atherosclerosis is currently supported by American Heart Association Grant-in-Aid and others.
Fortilin and Cancer
Tumor suppressor protein p53 keeps us free of cancer when it is function. Mutated p53 genes are seen in more than 50% of all human cancers, making them the most frequently observed genetic derangement in human cancer. At a molecular level, the ability of p53 to eliminate cancerous cells relies on its ability to induce apoptosis, through either the transcriptional activation of proapoptotic genes such as Noxa , PUMA, and Bax or the direct transcription-independent activation of Bax on mitochondria. Growing cancers manage to keep p53 in check either by mutating the p53 gene itself or by expressing p53 inhibitors such as Mdm2. Recently, our laboratory reported that fortilin is upregulated in many human malignancies and that fortilin binds specifically to the sequence-specific DNA binding domain of p53. The interaction of fortilin with p53 blocks p53-induced transcriptional activation of Bax. Fortilin, but not a double point mutant of fortilin lacking p53 binding, inhibits p53-dependent apoptosis. Furthermore, cells with wild-type p53 and fortilin, but not cells with wild-type p53 and the double-mutant of fortilin lacking p53 binding, fail to induce Bax gene and apoptosis, leading to the formation of large tumors in athymic mice. Fortilin is a novel p53-interacting molecule and p53 inhibitor. Fortilin thus is a logical molecular target in cancer therapy. Efforts to identify small molecule inhibitors of fortilin is underway in our laboratory.
HPV and Heart Disease
Inflammation contributes to the development and progression of atherosclerosis. In order to examine the association between human papillomavirus (HPV) with cardiovascular disease (CVD), the data from the National Health and Nutritional Examination Survey (2003-2006, 2450 women) was investigated. A total of 60 females (39 women were HPV DNA positive, whereas 21 were negative) had coronary artery disease. Presence of vaginal HPV DNA was associated with CVD. Odds ratio (OR) of CVD comparing women with presence of vaginal HPV DNA to those without was 2.30 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.27 to 4.16) after controlling for demographics, health/sex behaviors, medical comorbidities, cardiovascular risk factors, and management. At the same level of adjustment, OR of CVD comparing women with cancer-associated HPV types to those with negative HPV was 2.86 (95% CI: 1.43 to 5.70). HPV infection, especially cancer-associated oncogenic types, is associated with CVD among women. (J Am Coll Cardiol 2011;58:2001-6) Further studies are necessary to establish the causal relationship between HPV infection and atherosclerogenesis.
Garcinia dulcis, a plant that belongs to the Guttiferae family, is widely distributed in Thailand, and other Southeast Asian countries. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat various inflammatory conditions. The main constituent of the plant is morelloflavone, a biflavonoid comprising two covalently linked flavones-apigenin and luteolin. The Fujise Lab tested if morelloflavone prevented post-angioplasty restenosis and atherosclerosis, using mouse models of post-angioplasty restenosis and atherosclerosis, respectively. It was shown that morelloflavone blocks both restenosis and atherosclerosis through the blockade of vascular smooth muscle cell migration from the media to the intima.
- Methods And Compositions Relating To Fortilin, An Anti-Apoptotic Molecule, And Modulators Of Fortilin,USPO: 10/021,753 (Awarded)
- Composition and Method for Treatment and Prevention of Restenosis, USPO: 10/448,664 (Awarded)
- Reducing Myocardial reperfusion injury by the combination therapy of protein kinase A activation and beta-1-adrenergic receptor blockade (US Patent Pending, 12/997,485)
- Uses of morelloflavone (US Patent Pending, 12/931,310)
- Chen Y, Fujita T, Zhang D, Doan H, Pinkaew D, Liu Z, Wu J, Koide Y, Chiu A, Lin CJC, Chang JY, Ruan KH, Fujise K: The physical and functional antagonism between tumor suppressor protein p53 and fortilin, an anti-apoptotic protein. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2011. 286; 37: 32575-85. PMID: 21795694
- Kuo HK, Fujise K: Human papillomavirus and cardiovascular disease among U.S. women in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, 2003-2006. Journal of American College of Cardiology 2011: 58: 2001-6. PMID: 22032713
- Pinkaew D, Hutadilok-Towatana N, Teng BB, Mahabusarakam W, Fujise K. Morelloflavone, a biflavonoid inhibitor of migration-related kinases, ameliorates atherosclerosis in mice. American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulation. 2011. In press
- Koide Y, Tonganunt M, Kato Y, and Fujise K. Fortilin-deficiency causes embryonic lethality through the overactivation of BMP4 Pathway. Biochimica et BiophysicaActa 2009;1790:326-38 PMID: 2695948
- Graidist P, Yazawa M, Tonganunt M, Nakatomi A, Lin CC, Chang J, Phongdara A, Fujise K. Fortilin binds Ca2+ and blocks Ca2+-dependent apoptosis in vivo. Biochemical Journal 2007; 408(2):181-91. PMID: 2267342
- Graidist P, Fujise K, Wanna W, Sritunyalucksana K, Phongdara A: Establishing A Role For Shrimp Fortilin In Preventing Cell Death. Aquaculture 2006; 255:157-164. ISSN: 0044-848
- Graidist P, Phongdara A, and Fujise K: Anti-apoptotic protein partners fortilin and MCL1 independently protect cells from 5-FU-induced cytotoxicity: Fortilin-MCL1 interaction in apoptosis. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2004; 279:40868-40875. PMID: 15262975
- Mnjoyan ZH, Dutta R, Zhang D, Teng BB, and Fujise K: Paradoxical upregulation of tumor suppressor protein p53 in serum-stimulated vascular smooth muscle cells. Circulation 2003; 108:4:464-471. PMID: 12860918
- Tulis DA, Mnjoyan ZH, Schiesser R, Shelat HS, Zoldehelyi P, Fujise K: Adenoviral gene transfer of fortilin attenuates neointima formation through suppression of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation and migration. Circulation 2003; 107:98-105. PMID: 12515750
- Zhang D, Li F, Mnjoyan ZH, Weidner D, Fujise K: Physical and functional interaction between MCL1 and fortilin. The potential role of MCL1 as a fortilin chaperone. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2002; 227 (40):37430-37438. PMID: 12149273
- Li F, Zhang D and Fujise K: Characterization of fortilin, a novel anti-apoptotic protein. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2001;276(50):47542-47549. PMID: 11598139
- Fujise K, Zhang D, Liu JL and Yeh ETH: Regulation of apoptosis and cell cycle progression by MCL1. Differential role of MCL1. Journal of Biological Chemistry 2000, 275(50):39458-65. PMID: 10978339
- Gong L, Kamitani T, Fujise K, Caskey LS, Yeh ETH: Preferential interaction of sentrin with a ubiquitin-conjugating enzyme, Ubc9. Journal of Biological Chemistry: 1997, 272(45)28198-201. PMID: 9353268
- Fujise K, Stacy L, Beck P, Yeh ETH, Chuang A, Brock TA, Willerson JT: Differential effects of endothelin receptor activation on cyclic flow variations in rat mesenteric arteries. Circulation 1997; 96(10);3641-6. PMID: 9396466
- Fujise K, Revelle M, Stacy L, Willerson JT, Beck P: A tPA/P-selectin fusion protein is an effective thrombolytic agent. Circulation 1997; 95:715-722. PMID: 9024162
The UTMB Center for Global Health Education (CGHE) is dedicated to the training of tomorrow's global health work force to improve health for the people of Texas and around the world. Check out their website for more information on the global health programs and education going on in our department.
The department of internal medicine is developing evidence based clinical protocols which will be available in EPIC (as order sets) for use when admitting patients with these diagnoses. Their AIM is to standardize care and decrease length of stay and readmission rates.Currently available protocols are:
- CAP - Community Acquired Pneumonia Orderset
- Congestive Heart Failure (CHF)
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)
- Diabetic Ketoacidosis Adult, ICU
- General Medicine Admission
- Immunodeficiency Flow Panel
- MICU/CCU Admission Order Set
- Oral Analgesic Medicaitons
- Parenteral Opioids
- Sepsis, Adult ICU
All protocols can be found in the EPIC order set section.
The department of Internal Medicine has a large role in the Meaningful Use Initiative. Our participation is key for the success of the initiative. Please visit the meaningful use website for important communication and updates from the Meaningful Use Initiative.