Under normal, healthy circulatory conditions, the von Willebrand Factor (vWF) keeps to itself. The large and mysterious glycoprotein moves through the blood, balled up tightly, its reaction sites unexposed. But when significant bleeding occurs, it springs into action, initiating the clotting process.
When it works properly, vWF helps stop bleeding and saves lives. However, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 60,000 to 100,000 Americans die each year from thrombosis, a disorder characterized by too much clotting. Blood clots can trigger a stroke or heart attack.
According to X. Frank Zhang, associate professor in the Department of Bioengineering at Lehigh University, only one drug has been FDA-approved to target vWF and treat thrombosis, or excessive blood clotting disorders, Caplacizumab. It works by binding to vWF and blocking it from binding to platelets. However, no one has understood the specific mechanism behind how it accomplishes this. [Read more…] about Scientists’ discovery of blood clotting mechanism could lead to new anti-thrombotic drugs