LRI researchers are making significant headway in treating antiphospholipid syndrome (APS)– a life-threatening complication of lupus.
Recently published results from research funded by LRI show an innovative experimental treatment in animal models has real potential to prevent blood clots in APS. In addition, another LRI funded study now underway at Harvard University is testing whether a common food supplement can prevent APS blood clotting.
What is APS?
APS is an autoimmune disorder in which, for reasons not yet understood, the immune system makes antibodies that attack blood cells. The damaged cells clump together to form blood clots that can cause such serious conditions as stroke, heart attack and kidney damage. APS is also associated with pregnancy complications, including miscarriage and pre-eclampsia.
Currently lupus patients with APS are treated with blood thinners to prevent clotting. However, these medicines can cause internal bleeding – a dangerous side effect.
Two LRI-Funded Studies Show Potential to Prevent Blood Clotting
With an LRI Novel Research Grant, Dr. Natalie Beglova and colleagues at Harvard Medical School are investigating the potential of a molecule they call A1-A1, designed as a treatment to specifically block blood clotting caused by antiphospholipid syndrome.
Dr. Beglova’s team found that A1-A1 significantly reduced the size of blood clots formed in the blood vessels of lupus mice with APS antibodies. Importantly the normal blood clotting that is not caused by antibodies, which is essential to prevent bleeding, was unaffected. The study was recently published in the leading medical journal Blood.
“We are very encouraged by these early results which suggest that A1-A1 can be used as a prototype for the development of new anti-clotting treatments for patients with APS, ” said Dr. Beglova.
Another Promising Study to Prevent APS
Also at Harvard Dr. Bruce Furie, is using his LRI Novel Research Grant to explore whether rutin, an FDA approved food supplement, may be able to prevent clotting caused by APS antibodies.
Dr. Furie and his brother Dr. Richard Furie at North Shore-LIJ Health System are using cutting-edge imaging techniques to visualize the formation of clots in the blood vessels of live mice to work out which blood cell type and which protein on the surface of blood cells is targeted by the clot-causing autoantibodies. They are currently testing rutin in mouse models of APS.
“If it proves to be effective we anticipate moving quickly to clinical trials in patients, as the drug has already been deemed safe as a food supplement by the US Food and Drug Administration,” noted Dr. Bruce Furie.
What a New Treatment Could Mean to Patients
69- year old Barbara most objects to the uncertainty antiphospholipid syndrome causes. “Because taking Coumadin can cause the blood to become too thin, every day feels like a stack of cards in the wind! Research for antiphospholipid syndrome is a wonderland of hope for all of us living with its cloud.”