Birmingham researcher awarded three-year British Heart Foundation grant

Dr Alexander Brill, a Birmingham Research Fellow, has been awarded a £206,323 grant from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) to research mechanisms that would efficiently protect against thrombosis but leave intact normal anti-bleeding mechanisms, a process known as haemostasis.

"This funding will allow us to continue our research in this direction," Dr Brill explained. "We will explore how specific conditions in the vein, predisposing to deep vein thrombosis (DVT), are translated into mast cell activation as well as investigating pathways of signal transduction inside mast cells and delineating which substances released from mast cells are responsible for provoking thrombosis." 

Dr Brill plans to target components of the immune system that are not directly implicated in normal haemostasis and therefore new methods of DVT prophylaxis. These methods are being developed in Dr Brill's lab and are expected to protect patients from the devastating venous thrombosis in a safe and secure manner. 

Dr Brill commented: "The data will shed new light on fundamental mechanisms linking venous thrombosis and inflammation and help us identify novel safe targets to harness mast cells and diminish their deleterious pro-thrombotic activity. Furthermore, we will use this money to validate mast cell involvement in DVT in patients to create a basis for future clinical trials in order to introduce new drugs targeting mast cell into routine DVT prophylaxis in clinics." 

What is deep vein thrombosis?

Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a dangerous disease affecting more than 60,000 people in the UK every year. DVT is formation of blood clots in deep veins usually in legs, which can be painful and can impair the life quality of a person. But the main danger is that the clot can get dislodged and reach the lungs, where it occludes blood supply and leads to severe respiratory insufficiency or in some cases death.

Current methods of DVT prevention focus on inhibiting blood coagulation factors that are involved in normal bleeding arrest and therefore such treatment inevitably results in bleeding complications in a proportion of patients.

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