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Peripheral artery disease (PAD) is a type of cardiovascular disease where an individual’s arteries narrow, restricting blood flow to a body part outside of the heart and brain.

It occurs most commonly in the legs and feet. If blood flow to the limb is completely cut off, the limb can develop gangrene, which leads to various complications including the need for amputation.

In an earlier study, the Vascular Complications Group at the Heart Research Institute (HRI) discovered that the molecule TRAIL (TNF-related apoptosis-inducing ligand) stimulates the growth of new blood vessels from pre-existing vessels, helping bypass the restriction in the artery to increase blood flow for tissue survival and improve limb movement.

Their goal is to under­stand how TRAIL gen­er­ates sta­ble microves­sels in dis­ease con­di­tions, and lever­age this knowl­edge to devel­op more effec­tive ther­a­peu­tic approach­es to help patients suf­fer­ing from PAD.

PhD student Manisha Patil from Vascular Complications was an invited speaker on this exciting research at the recent European Society for Microcirculation conference at Musikhuset Aarhus, Aarhus, Denmark. She received two awards to attend this conference: one from the Australian Vascular Biology Society for up to $4,000 and another from the European Society for Microcirculation worth €500. Her presentation ‘TRAIL-TRAIL-R ligation regulates EC-pericyte crosstalk to generate stable microvessel networks in ischaemia’ was presented to over 300 microcirculation specialists.

This was my first inter­na­tion­al con­fer­ence, and I was amazed by the qual­i­ty of research,” Man­isha says.

“Listening to distinguished speakers known for their contribution to science and then presenting to experts in the microcirculation field was a fantastic opportunity that I am so grateful for. The posters and presentations I saw were so interesting, they gave me so much inspiration and motivation for my own research!”


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