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Carlos Ferrario, M.D. to be Honored by American Heart Association

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. – Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center hypertension specialist Carlos M. Ferrario, M.D., will receive the 2005 Arthur C. Corcoran Award for his work on hypertension research from the American Heart Association Council for High Blood Pressure Research.

The award ceremony and lecture will occur on Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C., at the 59th Annual Fall Conference and Scientific Sessions of the council in association with the Council on the Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease.

Ferrario, professor of surgical sciences and professor of physiology and pharmacology is Dewitt Cordell professor of surgical research and director of the Hypertension and Vascular Disease Center at Wake Forest Baptist. He will deliver the Arthur C. Corcoran Memorial Lecture on the results of research that he and his research team performed in exploring the antihypertensive effects of the hormone angiotensin-(1-7) [Ang-(1-7)] in the regulation of blood pressure and the causes of arterial hypertension. In 1989, Ferrario’s team discovered angiotensin-(1-7), which helps regulate blood pressure.

“The work done by our team of investigators at Wake Forest Baptist transcends its application to evaluating and treating the causes for high blood pressure,” said Ferrario. “Research on this novel hormone and its enzyme shows that this system may be a primary factor in protecting the body from cancer, and is also involved in protecting the organism against the immediate effects induced by inflammation and viral diseases.”

“I would have never expected that this hormone could have so many beneficial and therapeutic possibilities when it was first discovered in our laboratories.”

The annual lecture was established in 1977 to honor Corcoran for his early application of techniques for measuring kidney function in both hypertensive patients and animals.

An internationally recognized center for the investigation of vascular disease and hypertension, the Hypertension and Vascular Disease Center at Wake Forest Baptist provides comprehensive care for hypertension and vascular disease, a mobile blood pressure clinic, early screening and management of peripheral artery disease.

The center’s clinical efforts have contributed to the introduction of novel treatments associated with reducing the risk of strokes, reversing a condition that results in an enlarged heart and slowing the progression of kidney disease from diabetes. Its faculty has made major contributions to the understanding of hypertension mechanisms and the use of angiotensin receptor blockers in managing cardiovascular disease, preventing diabetes and restoring sexual function.

Since it was established at Wake Forest, the Hypertension and Vascular Disease Center has received more than $23 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. In addition, more than $3 million in grants have been awarded by pharmaceutical companies. In 2004, the center was awarded grants totaling $4.7 million dollars.
• The program is recognized as a primary center for the understanding of the biological causes of high blood pressure, having discovered new hormones and enzymes whose deficiency favors the progression of hypertension.
• Hypertension and Vascular Disease faculty have pioneered comprehensive approaches to effectively screen patients at risk for high blood pressure through the innovative, nationally recognized Health on Wheels™ screening and prevention program.
• In 2002, the center was awarded the prestigious designation as a national Enhanced Dissemination and Education Center (EDUC)—one of only 12 such programs in the United States. EDUCs bring the results of cardiovascular research to the public through educational programs and campaigns designed to promote heart-healthy behavior in the African-American community of Forsyth County.
• The center was awarded a grant by the Centers for Disease Control to establish a national
Hypertension Registry pilot project. The registry will document and track the magnitude of the problem of high blood pressure, its relation to cardiovascular disease and stroke, and its impact on emergency department resources in the United States.
• In 1994 the Hypertension and Vascular Disease Center initiated an educational program to increase awareness of the higher than average number of deaths from cardiovascular disease in the Southeast region of the United States. From that program, the Consortium for Southeastern Hypertension Control (COSEHC) was formed and the center was designated as one of 21 Cardiovascular Centers of Excellence.

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Media Contacts: Jim Steele, jsteele@wfubmc.edu, or Karen Richardson, krchrdsn@wfubmc.edu, at 336-716-4587.

About Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center: Wake Forest Baptist is an academic health system comprised of North Carolina Baptist Hospital and Wake Forest University Health Sciences, which operates the university’s School of Medicine. The system comprises 1,187 acute care, psychiatric, rehabilitation and long-term care beds and is consistently ranked as one of “America’s Best Hospitals” by U.S. News & World Report.

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