The Cardiovascular Medical Research Education Fund (CMREF) was instituted to establish state of the art resources to advance the research in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH), as the result of settlements of PAH patients with manufacturers of Dexfenfluramine. The CMREF then organized a unique North American network, the Pulmonary Hypertension Breakthrough Initiative (PHBI), dedicated to comprehensive biobanking of human lungs with PAH and controls, supported by a detailed clinical annotation of the accrued specimens.
Having started in 2006, the PHBI successfully developed a novel and unique infrastructure, whose success relied on the active participation of a highly integrated network of university-based sites with extensive expertise in each of the spheres of competency –excellence in clinical care of PAH (including patient accruals), lung transplantation, pathology, genetics, genomics, and cell isolation. The resulting impact of the PHBI in PAH research has been significant, aided by the implementation of a policy for dispersal of samples and interaction with participating investigators.
With funding from the NHLBI through an R24, Resource-Related Research Projects grant, the PHBI continues to promote research that will advance translational efforts in lung vascular disease.
The PPVCC has served as the cell core for the PHBI, isolating pulmonary artery endothelial, smooth muscle and adventitial cells from the explanted lungs of patients with IPAH undergoing lung transplantation as well as from un-used (“failed”) donor lungs. Through validated procedures and rigorous quality control, the PPVCC is able to provide investigators with pure populations of proliferating lung vascular cells from the various arterial segments (main and types I-III).