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How do excessive blood clots form in ANCA associated vasculitis?

07 June 2022

We have awarded Dr Tom Mckinnon from Imperial College London a grant to recruit a PhD student to investigate how AAV causes excessive clotting.

What is antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis?

Antineutrophil cytoplasmic antibody (ANCA)-associated vasculitis (AAV) is an autoimmune disease where the body makes antibodies–proteins that the immune system makes to fight disease– called ANCA, that attack immune cells called neutrophils and monocytes. When ANCA attacks these cells, a series of events occur that lead to damage to the cells that line small blood vessels. The kidneys have lots of small blood vessels that can be affected so most people with AAV have problems with their kidneys which can lead to kidney failure.

Patients with AAV are also more likely to form excessive blood clots, which can lead to life-threatening conditions like strokes, heart attacks and blood clots in the lungs. We don’t currently understand how AAV causes excess blood clotting, but one theory is that ANCA antibodies might stop some blood clots from being broken down, allowing them to get too big and cause damage.

Red blood cells - landscape
Red blood cells

Finding a solution

With our funding, Dr Tom McKinnon and his team will use a special lab model that replicates blood flow through the blood vessels to look at the effect of ANCA antibodies on blood clotting.

What could this mean for patients?

By revealing how AAV leads to excessive blood clotting, this study could uncover targets to prevent or treat
harmful clots and damage caused to blood vessels by ANCA antibodies. As well as understanding more about
why AAV can lead to excess clotting, this research may also reveal markers that will tell us which patients are likely to form excessive blood clots and require monitoring or treatment.

Dr Tom Mckinnon has been awarded a PhD Studentship from kidney Research UK for £84,280.

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