The University of Michigan has been awarded $1.7 million to collaborate with GlycoMimetics, Inc., to study a new class of anticoagulants to help millions of Americans at risk or venous thromboembolic disease (VTE), a serious blood-clotting disorder.
The National Heart Lung and Blood Institute is supporting the three-year clinical trial of GMI-1271, an E-selectin antagonist that preliminary data shows prevents blood clot formation and reduces thrombus weight by 50-60 percent.
Co-principal investigators at the U-M are Suman Sood, M.D., a hematologist at the University of Michigan Comprehensive Cancer Center, and Thomas Wakefield, M.D., head of vascular surgery at the U-M Frankel Cardiovascular Center.
VTE, which can happen after a major operation, or severe illness such as heart attacks, stroke and some cancers, refers to both pulmonary embolism and deep vein thrombosis (DVT), blood clots that form in large veins of the legs. The clots become dangerous when they break loose and affect blood flow to the heart and lungs.
A mainstay of VTE prevention and treatment are anticoagulants that reduce blood clotting. But the medicines are associated with a significant risk of hemorrhage and for the most part do not decrease the inflammation that comes with VTE.
"The use of E-selection inhibition has a high therapeutic potential to decrease both thrombosis and its harmful inflammatory effects," says Sood.
GMI-1271 inhibits the cell-cell interactions that provide the scaffolding for blood clots to form. The compound is in the pipeline of drugs developed by GlycoMimetics, Inc., a clinical stage biotechnology company.
"We hypothesize that use of an E-selection inhibitor in patients with acute DVT, either alone or in combination with traditional anticoagulants, may lead to a greater thrombus resolution, higher rates of preserved valve competence, reduced pain and swelling and improved quality of life," says Wakefield.
Enrollment in the phase 1 clinical trial at the U-M is expected to begin in mid-2014 and to include healthy volunteers and those with calf level DVT.
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