Blood clots are a serious health concern affecting millions of people around the world. When left untreated, they can lead to life-threatening conditions such as deep vein thrombosis, heart attack, pulmonary embolism and stroke. Blood thinners, a.k.a. anticoagulants, are essential in the treatment and prevention of blood clots but carry a significant risk of bleeding. This can cause complications and limit their use in some patients. Existing blood thinners such as heparin, direct oral anticoagulants and warfarin work by targeting enzymes that are essential for blood clotting. However, they must be carefully dosed and monitored because disabling those enzymes threatens the normal clotting process required to heal wounds. In addition, anticoagulants antagonize some vitamins or their absorption from the intestine. Safer and more effective blood thinners could be on the way following a groundbreaking discovery by researchers at UBC and the University of Michigan, published today on the journal Nature Communications.
The researchers took an innovative approach to instead target polyphosphate, a molecule involved in blood clotting that accelerates the process but is not essential for it. Further research will be needed to confirm the safety and efficacy of MPI 8 in humans, but initial results offer hope for a new era in blood clot prevention and thrombosis treatment while serving as a testament to the power of collaboration in research medicine. After having screened a chemical database and identified specific and desired criteria, then zeroed in on MPI 8. This unique molecule has “smart” binding groups with positive charges that are drawn to polyphosphate’s negative charge.It will bind to polyphosphate and inhibit it while leaving the body’s other negatively charged cells and proteins alone, eliminating toxic side effects. In preclinical studies, MPI 8 demonstrated remarkable effectiveness in preventing blood clots in mice without increasing bleeding risk. The drug showed no signs of toxicity, even at high doses.
UBC and the University of Michigan have filed a patent application for the technology. Dr. Jay Kizhakkedathu, Professor and Canada Research Chair at UBC’s Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and the UBC Centre for Blood Research, commented their discovery: “By combining our expertise in blood clotting systems and chemical synthesis, we have designed a new compound called MPI 8 that offers the potential to prevent blood clots without any increased risk of bleeding, a common side effect of existing blood thinners. The development of MPI 8 represents a major breakthrough in the field of blood clot prevention and treatment. By targeting a specific molecule involved in clot formation without disrupting the natural clotting process, we’ve created a blood thinner that has proven safer and more effective in animal models, with enormous potential to improve human lives as well”.
- Edited by Dr. Gianfrancesco Cormaci, PhD, specialist in Clinical Biochemistry.
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