A first-in-class antibody designed to prevent clotting

Researchers from Monash University have designed a novel antibody that inhibits one particular blood-borne protein to prevent clot formation, or thrombosis, without potential adverse side effects.

The study, led by Dr Erik Westein and Associate Professor Christoph Hagemeyer from the Australian Centre for Blood Diseases at Monash University, describes how the novel antibody has been engineered to only detect and block the pathological form of the Von Willebrand Factor (VWF) blood protein.

The antibody is able to stop pathological thrombosis that can cause heart attacks and strokes without impacting normal healthy clotting.

The findings have been published in Haematologica.

Heart attack and stroke remain the leading causes of mortality and morbidity worldwide. Current anti-thrombotic (anti-clotting) therapies can, and do, cause severe bleeding complications because they also interfere with normal blood clotting. Four out of five patients who receive anti-platelet therapy still have recurring cardiovascular events.

Existing anti-platelet drugs therefore cannot be used in higher doses. As a result, their efficacy remains disappointingly low and future therapies require a fundamental re-design from the ground up.

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