The role of fibrin structure in a blood clot

Mechanisms of fibrin structure in thrombosis

Robert A S Ariens (lead researcher)

Leeds, University of

Start date: 01 October 2013 (Duration 5 years)

Coronary heart disease claims thousands of lives each year in the UK. The coronary arteries of people with the disease have been damaged by the build-up of ‘fatty plaques’ in the vessel wall, which can eventually rupture to cause a blood clot that leads to a heart attack. People with coronary heart disease are prescribed drugs to prevent clots forming, or to break down the clot after a heart attack, but these treatments carry a risk of excess bleeding and so it is important to find better and safer treatments.

The framework of a blood clot is made of a molecule called fibrin and scientists have shown that people who’ve had a heart attack or a stroke seem to have altered fibrin structure, suggesting that fibrin structure has a role to play in the type of blood clot formed. Fibrin structure also determines how resistant a clot is to being broken down. But we don’t know exactly how fibrin structure is controlled.

This award will enable Dr Robert Ariens from the University of Leeds to answer this question. He will look for clues about the control of fibrin structure, and the development of blood clots. He will also look at what affects the stability of blood clots by studying their interactions with red blood cells and platelets – small cell fragments that help the blood to clot. Significantly, Dr Ariens’ team will try to modify fibrin structure to make clots break down more easily – which could become the basis for a new drug.

Project details

Grant amount £1,145,224
Grant type Programme Grant
Start Date 01 October 2013
Duration 5 years
Reference RG/13/3/30104
Status In progress

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