SAN DIEGO – The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute is looking to jump-start research into hemostasis and thrombosis. Donna DiMichele, MD, offered two reasons for the research push.
“The first is to stimulate research in areas that are undersubscribed through investigator-initiated research,” Dr. DiMichele, deputy director of the NHLBI’s Division of Blood Diseases and Resources, said at the biennial summit of the Thrombosis & Hemostasis Societies of North America. “We also do it sometimes to steer research in directions that are not developing organically through investigator-initiated efforts. In hemostasis and thrombosis, 50% of the investigator-led research is basic in nature. Nonetheless, there were several basic research initiatives that NHLBI released in the last few years that stimulated the field in a new direction.”Center for the Investigation of Factor VIII Immune Response in Patients with Hemophilia A (U54). This effort – launched on March 30, 2017 – is intended to create Research Centers of Excellence with the aim of “investigating and definitively elucidating the mechanistic and translational mechanisms of FVIII immunogenicity.”
The centers will be required to look beyond current active science disciplines in this field, to include emerging sciences and technologies not currently being exploited in this research area. The initiative is also intended to cross-train the next generation of physicians/scientists with interdisciplinary skill sets. “The research teams with successful applications are going to begin their work by the summer of 2018, and hopefully we’ll soon gain some new insights into Factor VIII immunogenicity,” Dr. DiMichele said.
One novel scientific area that successful applicants will be able to take advantage of is the Trans-Omics for Precision Medicine Program (TOPMed). Launched in 2014, this program facilitates whole-genome sequencing across cohorts in heart, lung, blood, and sleep science. TOPMed now includes more than 120,000 whole genomes, with more than 5,000 of those in hemophilia.
In basic science, two NHLBI-funded initiatives aim to improve the understanding of thrombosis.
One, Sex Hormone Induced Thromboembolism in Premenopausal Women (R61/R33), is meant to elucidate the mechanisms by which female sex hormones and sex hormone-based therapies can increase the risk of venous and arterial thromboembolism in premenopausal women. The other initiative, Consortium Linking Oncology with Thrombosis (U01), is aimed at encouraging studies in individual cancer types that expand investigation into the intersection between cancer and thrombotic pathways. It also aims to help researchers identify and develop biomarkers of thrombotic risk or cancer progression, and new strategies for preventing or treating the deleterious interplay between cancer, cancer therapy, and hemostasis/thrombosis.