Our lab is interested in platelets and atherosclerosis. When we injure ourselves, platelets are cells that activate and control bleeding. But sometimes that platelet activation can cause problems as well, including tissue damage. And in the arteries where atherosclerosis forms, we and others have found that platelets may contribute to that process. Atherosclerosis is the hardening of arteries which is responsible for heart attacks and strokes. It happens when cholesterol builds up in those arteries. Specifically our lab is interested in a protein called platelet factor four, and this is a protein that is normally involved in clotting. But we found, that among other things, when we removed platelet factor 4 from platelets we can protect from atherosclerosis. So its potential, if we understand this better, is to minimize heart attacks and strokes. And we're specifically studying interactions of platelet factor 4 with the cells and other proteins, and by understanding that we hope to develop new therapies to prevent people from having heart attacks and strokes and minimize the risk for those diseases.
Bruce Sachais, M.D., Ph.D. Director of Transfusion Services, HUP, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Assistant Professor, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Division of Transfusion Medicine, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Proatherogenic Properties of Platelet Factor 4 Administered by the NHLBI Division of Blood Diseases and Resources, Thrombosis and Hemostasis Branch FY 2009 Recovery Act Funding: $170,374