Principal Investigator: Walter Cromer, PhD
Institution: Texas A&M Health Sciences Center
LF Funding History: 2017 Proof of Concept Award
Hypothesis: There are changes in either the structure (cell to cell junctions) or lipid transport function of the lymphatic vessels of lipedema patients that lead to aberrant accumulation of lipid in the effected tissue. Additionally, there must be a unifying set of pathological measures that allow for the effecting identifying and staging of Lipedema that can be applied by non-expert clinicians.
Current LF Collaborations:
- Dr. Karen Herbst, University or Arizona - Dr. Herbst has provided patient samples to identify pertinent clinical markers of pathology and provides expertise on manifestations of disease.
- Dr. Joseph Rutkowski, Texas A&M University - Dr. Rutowski is developing a mouse model of lipedema and we are cross referencing findings in clinical samples to those obtained from his model.
Collaborative Opportunities: We are looking for an expert in genetics to assist us in confirming any genetic changes that are identified in our screens.
Project: Identification of Alterations of the Lymphatic and Immune Systems in Lipedema for Use in Diagnosis and Staging
Lipedema is a complex disease in which lacks clear indications of what initiates the disease, nor are there easy-to-use standards for gauging the stage and progression of the disease. We propose to use available tissue samples to determine if there are changes in the lymphatic vessels in the tissue (vessels that are responsible for fluid and lipid transport) with regards to their structure and gene expression, which in turn results in inefficient lipid transport.
We will also attempt to develop a standardized pathology measurement system that can be implemented in clinical settings to both diagnose and stage the progression of the disease, with a focus on tissue structure, fibrosis and the types of immune cells that enter the tissue. Both goals of this project will aid in the definition of this disease and will hopefully lead to better diagnosis and monitoring of patients.