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Targeting platelets to break down blood clots - sex specific treatments

Dr Laura Bienvenu, Institution: Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute

2018 Postdoctoral Fellowship

Years funded: 2019-2021


My project aims to break down blood clots using targeted antibody-drug fusions. Thrombosis, the formation of blood clots within a vessel, is a leading cause of death in Australia. Using clot-busting drugs that are genetically fused to antibodies, we can break down blood clots by targeting activated platelets. These antibody-drug fusions can attach to clots, accumulate at the site of clot development and break them down.

We have previously shown that these targeted-drug can improve heart function after an induced heart attack. While these drugs have been proven successful for current therapy, their small molecular size hinders their use for long-term prophylactic approach.

In order to propose a paradigm changing use of our targeted-drug fusion for prophylaxis, I will improve the circulating half-life by increasing the size of targeted-drug, thereby allowing these treatments to be used prior to disease occurrence. One of the current problems in most experimental studies is the fact that they were investigated only in male mice. Men and women have different incidence and outcomes of cardiovascular disease related to thrombosis, such as stroke and myocardial infarction.

For this reason, sex-differences in cardiovascular disease has been gaining attention. The overall aim of this project is to generate new long circulating targeted-drugs, to assess treatment on blood clot formation and cardiac function after a heart attack, as well as to identify sex-specific differences.

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