Genetic Septet Controls Blood Clotting

BALTIMORE, June 23 (UPI) — U.S. medical investigators say they’ve identified seven genes that likely control blood platelet clotting, thereby affecting development of arterial disease.

Researchers from Johns Hopkins University and the Harvard Medical School said their study is one of the largest of the human genetic code involving blood clotting and their findings offer new targets in developing diagnostic tests and treatments for arterial disease.

“Our results give us a clear set of new molecular targets, the proteins produced from these genes, to develop tests that could help us identify people more at risk for blood clots and for whom certain blood-thinning drugs may work best or not,” said co-senior study investigator Dr. Lewis Becker, a professor at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We can even look toward testing new treatments that may speed up how the body fights infection or recovers from wounds.”

Becker and Dr. Christopher O’Donnell from Massachusetts General Hospital and an associate professor at Harvard Medical School, the study’s other lead investigator, said they found the seven genes to be hugely significant in affecting how fast or how long it took for platelets to stick together or how many platelets would clump. The seven were more than 500 million times more likely than other genes to impact clumping, the researchers said.

The study is reported in the early online edition of the journal Nature Genetics.

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