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UPMC to Spend $30 million on New Institute

The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine plan to expand their Vascular Medicine Institute over the next five years, by creating the Heart, Lung Blood and Vascular Medicine Institute, or VMI.

Dr. Mark Gladwin, co-director of VMI, said it will be a hub for research.

"This will be the research home for scientists and physicians and physician scientists that have primary appointments within cardiology, pulmonary and hematology," he said.

Gladwin said VMI will give diseases a full spectrum of attention, from researching causes, to treatment, to developing drugs to combat them. By way of example, he said they would study pulmonary hypertension, or high blood pressure in the lungs. Pulmonary hypertension can affect a range of people, appearing as a primary disease in a healthy young person or as a complication for someone with heart, lung and blood diseases.

Gladwin said not only are they looking into the causes of pulmonary hypertension, "but then we're also targeting these pathways with new therapies ... we have a brand new clinical trial here in Pittsburgh with a new drug..."

Gladwin said they will spend around $3 million on renovating their space and creating collaborative labs. He said the rest of the money will go to a variety of areas.

"We're very interested in building a Center for Aging Research, because as our population's aging they're at increased risk not only of developing cancer, but of developing cardiac disease, of developing lung disease," Gladwin said. "We're going to be building an Atherosclerosis Center, we're going to be building a Left Heart Failure Center. So many of these centers will be built from the talent we have here now, but we fully expect to invest almost $23 million in new scientists and new programs."