Researchers from the Department of Pharmacy & Pharmacology have been awarded £219,000 by the British Heart Foundation to investigate a new type of drug for preventing strokes.
The team led by Dr Giordano Pula are targeting an enzyme called Nox1, which is involved in triggering blood clotting. They hope that blocking Nox1 will stop clots forming without increasing the risk of excessive bleeding.
The team was the first to discover that Nox1 is produced by platelets, cells in the blood that stick to collagen to form a blood clot. They aim to study the role of the enzyme in more detail and develop potential drug molecules that will inhibit it.
They hope that by targeting a different chemical pathway to that of other anti-thrombosis drugs, such as warfarin and aspirin, they will develop a drug that has fewer side effects.
Dr Pula commented: “Many patients at risk of thrombosis do not respond to existing therapies. Other patients develop resistance after prolonged treatment, so the drugs stop working for them. For other patients, the current drugs have life-threatening side effects, such as major internal or external bleeding. We’re hoping this research will develop a new class of drugs that block thrombosis without the side effects of excessive bleeding.
“We already have one active molecule, but we are modifying its chemistry further to improve its water solubility and drug-like properties in order to develop it into a truly effective new treatment for cardiovascular patients.”
Source: University of Bath