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University of Iowa News Release

July 10, 2003

UI To Study Treatment For Prevention Of Coronary Bypass Graft Failure

UI Heart Care researchers announced today that they will join about 100 leading medical centers across the nation in studying a unique therapy that may help prevent bypass graft failure following coronary artery bypass (CABG) surgery.

Each year, about 500,000 Americans receive CABG surgery to treat life-threatening cardiovascular disease. CABG surgery is performed to restore blood flow to the heart. During the procedure, a segment of a healthy blood vessel - usually a vein from the leg - is removed and then attached, or grafted, from the aorta to the coronary artery. The bypass routs the blood around the blocked portion of the artery, improving the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart.

"Bypass operations are very successful in treating patients and helping to relieve symptoms such as chest pain, and in preventing heart attacks and deaths," explained Jeffrey Everett, M.D., an assistant professor and cardiothoracic surgeon with UI Heart Care. "However, an estimated one-third to one-half of those bypass grafts fail, and there is no approved treatment to prevent graft failure."

For the first time, Everett and his colleagues hope to extend the life of vein grafts used in coronary bypass operations. The research teams conducting the PREVENT IV study will use the E2F Decoy treatment to treat vein graft before it implanted in the body. Surgeons will place vein grafts in a pressure device that contains either the E2F Decoy solution or a solution containing a placebo substance, such as saline.

Bypass grafts primarily fail because the interior lining of the blood vessel thicken, causing a buildup along the wall of the graft. E2F Decoy blocks the expression of the gene that causes the growth of those abnormal cells. The treatment also helps the vein act more like an artery, which may better maintain blood flow.

"The results of the preliminary studies showed that it might be possible to reduce the number of coronary bypass grafts that fail by one-third," Everett said. "We are pleased that we can offer our patients the opportunity to participate in this important research trial."

Currently, patients whose coronary bypass grafts fail may need to receive a second bypass surgery, which has a higher operative mortality rate than a first procedure. Heart specialists say preventing bypass graft failure would spare patients from receiving those more risky surgeries.

Approximately 3,000 patients receiving CABG procedures will enroll in the PREVENT IV study. For more information, contact Kelley McLaughlin at 319-384-7917 or

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: Joint Office for Planning, Marketing and Communications, 200 Hawkins Drive, Room 8798 JPP, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1009

CONTACT(S): Tom Moore, 319-356-3945,