New research on the prevention and treatment of thrombotic diseases is now officially underway at Birmingham.
January marked the kick-off of the EU-funded Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network - Targeting Platelet Adhesion Receptors in Thrombosis (TAPAS). TAPAS is a consortium of seven European countries, led by Professor Steve Watson and colleagues in the Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences at the University, along with seven beneficiaries and six partners from the UK, Ireland, Germany, Spain, Netherlands, Croatia and Hungary.
TAPAS will train a uniquely-qualified cohort of 15 Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) in a highly intersectoral and multi-disciplinary programme of work. This work will tackle the problem of thrombosis (blood clots) which can lead to heart attack and stroke and contributes to an estimated 40% of cardiovascular deaths in the EU, and costs over €200 billion a year to the EU economy.
Current therapy in the prevention of arterial thrombotic events includes drugs that suppress the function of a specialised blood cell called a platelet, which is necessary for preventing bleeding but whose unregulated or inappropriate activation can lead to thrombosis.
Whilst this treatment plan is effective in a large proportion of patients, it is not perfect and some patients experience further thrombotic episodes, bleeding problems or even death. The research that the TAPAS researchers will undertake will combine innovative approaches and develop new expertise to identify, understand and test new targets on blood platelets for the selective prevention and treatment of thrombotic diseases.
As a European Joint Doctorate, each Early Stage Researcher will graduate with a Joint PhD from two Institutions. Through this exciting and ambitious collaboration, the skills and knowledge gained by the ESRs will open up major career opportunities in cardiovascular and other areas of biomedical research, as well as in diverse fields ranging from research innovation to science policy and communication.
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