Grumbach Receives AHA Grant to Study Microvessel Damage

Isabella Grumbach, MD, Professor in Cardiovascular Medicine, has received a two-year, $200,000 Innovative Project Award from the American Heart Association. In a project titled “New models of radiation endotheliopathy,” Dr. Grumbach will investigate the effects or radiation on small blood vessels. Specifically, she and her colleagues will employ new technologies to examine vasculature in the retina in an effort to isolate the vessel’s role in normal tissue injury, a previously impossible assessment to make.

Nearly two-thirds of all individuals diagnosed with cancer will receive some form of radiation therapy. Despite improved techniques to target the radiation precisely to the cancer tissue, some radiation is dispensed onto the surrounding normal tissue, including blood vessels. The injury to the tissue and vessels is not always immediately apparent, but can manifest many years later, for example as heart failure in people treated for lymphoma or in vision loss for those treated for eye tumors. Dr. Grumbach’s team will test first whether these retinal microvessel imaging techniques are effective as a strategy for evaluating tissue damage and then as a potential tool for screening for new drugs.

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