FYI from the NHLBI Index
January 2009: Vol. 9, Issue 3
In the News
News from Capitol Hill
Science Advance from the NHLBI
- Findings Hold Promise for Improved Diagnosis of Peripheral Arterial Disease
News from Capitol Hill
Appropriations for Fiscal Year (FY) 2009
On September 30, 2008, the President signed H.R. 2638 the Consolidated Security, Disaster Assistance, and Continuing
Appropriations Act (P.L. 110-329), as a short-term measure to continue funding for most of the government, including
the NIH, until March 6, 2009. The continuing resolution provides temporary funding for FY 2009, which began on
October 1, 2008, for the NIH at the FY 2008 level. It does not include the supplemental FY 2008 funding provided in
June to the NIH in the amount of $150 million by P.L. 110-252 (see below).
On June 30, the President signed into law H.R. 2642 (P.L. 110-252), a Supplemental Appropriations Act, which provided
additional funds for the 2008 fiscal year. The supplemental appropriation included $150 million for the NIH.
The Prenatally and Postnatally Diagnosed Conditions Awareness Act
On October 8, 2008, the President signed into law S. 1810 (Public Law 110-374), a measure that increases the provision
of information and support services to families affected by Down syndrome or another prenatally or postnatally diagnosed
condition, and authorizes the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services, acting through the Director of
the NIH or the CDC, or the Administrator of HRSA, to award grants or contracts to coordinate the provision of
evidence-based information regarding support services for those conditions.
President Signs Comprehensive Tuberculosis Elimination Act of 2008
On October 13, 2008, the President signed into law H.R. 1532 (Public Law 110-392), the Comprehensive Tuberculosis
Elimination Act of 2008. The law amends the Public Health Service Act with respect to making progress toward eliminating
tuberculosis and authorizes the NIH Director to expand, intensify, and coordinate tuberculosis research and development
in the NIH institutes and centers.
Recent Advance from the NHLBI
Findings Hold Promise for Improved Diagnosis of Peripheral Arterial Disease
Peripheral arterial disease (PAD)—reduced or blocked blood flow, usually to the legs, due to buildup
of plaque in the arteries—affects 8 to 12 million people in the United States, many of them elderly.
Smokers and people with diabetes are especially prone to PAD. Patients can experience debilitating pain
that inhibits their ability to walk, and they are at especially high risk of developing heart disease or
stroke. Because many persons with PAD do not experience identifiable symptoms, diagnosis and treatment
are often delayed, with serious consequences that can lead to leg amputation or even death.
Researchers recently identified substances in blood that could potentially be used as biomarkers for
improved diagnosis of PAD. Analyzing blood samples from study participants, the researchers discovered
that blood levels of three substances (sTie2, Ang2, and VEGF) known to promote angiogenesis (the growth
of new blood vessels) were significantly higher in participants with PAD than in healthy controls.
Moreover, severely affected participants had significantly higher levels of two of the substances (sTie2 and VEGF)
than patients with mild PAD.
The findings raise the possibility that a blood test based on these angiogenic biomarkers may provide an
additional, reliable diagnostic measure of PAD—one that can identify patients early and distinguish between
mild and severe PAD. Such a test would allow doctors to begin treatment earlier and could also help them
monitor and evaluate a patient’s response to treatment.
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