New drug to avoid risk of DVT

Thrombosis causes one in four deaths worldwide, but scientists at Melbourne’s Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute have developed a new drug to potentially help prevent deep-vein thrombosis (DVT).

Results of a preclinical trial in partnership with Professor Elliot Chaikof, Chief Surgeon at Harvard Medical School in Boston, US have shown blood clots can be avoided by using small doses of a drug, which enriches itself in high-risk areas, ultimately preventing clot growth.

Dr Xiaowei Wang, a Baker Institute researcher and co-author of an article in the journal JCI Insight<itals>, says scientists have designed a novel clot-preventing drug for targeted delivery.

“This unique approach would provide drugs that are attaching themselves to the just-developing clot and block further build-up of the blood clot,” she said. “They are only needed in small doses, thereby avoiding any bleeding side-effects.

“This approach promises to be safer compared with traditional drug administration that results in a generalised bleeding risk.”

Professor Karlheinz Peter, co-author and head of the Baker Institute’s Atherothrombosis and Vascular Biology laboratory, says the direct translation of this innovative approach has the potential to provide an alternative for large numbers of patients who might be at risk of heart attack, stroke and DVT.

“More importantly, in addition to being an effective treatment for heart attacks, strokes and DVTs, a reduced bleeding risk will enable its use to protect at-risk patients even before such events occur,” he said.

Cardiovascular disease is the cause of more than 480,000 hospitalisations annually, with one Australian dying every 12 minutes from the disease.

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