The factors involved in forming blood clots

Investigation of the physiological role of zinc in platelet activation during thrombus formation

Nicholas Pugh (lead researcher)

Anglia Ruskin University

Start date: 19 January 2015 (Duration 3 years)

Understanding how platelets stick together may reveal a new way to prevent blood clotting that could ultimately prevent heart attacks or strokes.

When blood clots form in blood vessels they can block the flow of blood and can cause heart attacks and strokes. Blood clots form when small cells in the blood called platelets stick to damaged blood vessel walls before becoming activated and sticking together. Scientists are working to understand what factors are important for platelets to become activated – and zinc is one of them. Zinc is released from platelets when a clot forms and is able to activate other platelets to form a growing clot. But scientists don’t fully understand how zinc activates platelets.

The BHF has awarded a grant to Dr Nicholas Pugh at Anglia Ruskin University to study zinc’s effect on platelets and its role in blood clotting in more detail. He will study the changes that occur inside platelets after treating them with zinc, particularly in flowing blood. He will try and identify drugs which can block the effect zinc has on platelets. This work will give a better definition of zinc’s role in blood clotting and will reveal if targeting zinc could be a new way to prevent blood clots forming. Ultimately, this work could lead to the development of new drugs to prevent or treat heart attacks and strokes.

Project details

Grant amount £175,479
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 19 January 2015
Duration 3 years
Reference PG/14/47/30912
Status In progress

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