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Release: Nov. 14, 2000

Dixon receives $1.36 million NIH grant for hemodialysis research

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases of the National Institutes of Health has awarded University of Iowa Health Care researchers a new grant to participate as one of five clinical centers involved in the Hemodialysis Vascular Access Clinical Trials Consortium.

The five-year, $1.36 million dollar award began Sept. 29. The UI and affiliated regional area hemodialysis units are studying methods of slowing or preventing hemodialysis vascular access failure. Vascular access failure is a major cause of morbidity and accounts for nearly $1 billion per year, or 20 percent, of the cost for patients on chronic hemodialysis.

Bradley S. Dixon, M.D., UI associate professor of internal medicine and principal investigator, will direct the participation of the Eastern Iowa-Western Illinois Vascular Access Consortium (EIWIVAC) in the national trial. Other senior investigators in the EIWIVAC include Thomas Bainbridge, M.D. (Mount Pleasant, Iowa), Prem K. G. Chandran, M.D. (Des Moines, Iowa), Frank S. Darras, M.D. (Peoria, Ill.), Timothy A. Pflederer, M.D. (Peoria, Ill.), Michael J. Slavin, M.D. (Waterloo, Iowa) and Anne L. Voigts, M.D. (Cedar Rapids, Iowa). Lawrence G Hunsicker, M.D., UI professor of internal medicine, will serve as a co-investigator, and Raymond J. Hohl, M.D., UI associate professor of internal medicine and director of the department's hematology and oncology division, will serve as a consultant.

The hemodialysis vascular access is a surgical connection between artery and vein that allows blood to be removed from the patient for hemodialysis. The vascular access thus serves as the lifeline for the hemodialysis patient. However, access failure is a frequent occurrence. The primary cause of the access failure is the buildup of tissue in the venous side of the access that leads to slow blood flow and clotting. The purpose of the Hemodialysis Vascular Access Clinical Trials Consortium is to study new approaches to inhibit the buildup of venous tissue that leads to clotting of the access. Several of the drugs to be studied will target inhibition of vascular smooth muscle cell proliferation that leads to the venous stenosis.

"This is an extremely vexing problem for dialysis patients and their caregivers," Dixon said. "This grant will allow us to study new ways to prevent this problem. I'm especially excited that our clinical center brings together a group of talented and dedicated nephrologists from the surrounding region to work together. We are also fortunate to have the assistance of Dr. Hunsicker, who is an internationally recognized expert in conducting large scale clinical trials."

"We are very proud of Dr. Dixon's leadership in developing this new clinical center that allows the University of Iowa and affiliated regional hemodialysis units to take the lead in finding new strategies to deal with this very difficult problem," said Francois M. Abboud, M.D., Edith King Pearson Professor and Department Head in Internal Medicine and director of the UI Cardiovascular Research Center.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI College of Medicine and the UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide.