New grant award to find better treatments for thrombo-inflammatory diseases

A new funding injection will further Birmingham research into thrombo-inflammatory diseases, with the aim of identifying a more effective and safer approach to treatment.

The project grant, which was awarded by the British Heart Foundation, will support a project focusing on the role of protein Galectin-9 (Gal-9) in blood clotting and inflammation processes. The research team want to find out how Gal-9 makes components of blood activate and clump together – and plan to produce an antibody that can block this protein. They also aim to establish whether the amount of Gal-9 in someone’s blood is linked to the presence of thrombo-inflammatory diseases.

By developing an antibody able to neutralise Gal-9, researchers hope to achieve a more effective and safer approach to treating thrombo-inflammatory diseases.

“I am very thankful to the British Heart Foundation for supporting this project and look forward to unravelling this exciting new role for Galectin-9 in thrombo-inflammation.”

– Dr Asif Iqbal

Blood clotting and inflammation are tightly connected processes, termed ‘thrombo-inflammation’, that drive many diseases such as ischemic heart disease and cancer, which are the first and second causes of death globally. Other thrombo-inflammation diseases, such as deep vein thrombosis (DVT) and periphery artery disease (PAD), affect fewer people but are similarly life-threatening or lead to disability and significantly reduced quality of life.

The study is led by Dr Asif Iqbal, Associate Professor in Inflammation Biology at the University of Birmingham’s Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and researcher within the NIHR Birmingham Biomedical Research Centre’s Thrombo-inflammation research theme, and also involves Dr Julie Rayes, Dr Alexander Brill, Professor Ed Rainger and Mr Zhaogong Zhi.

Study lead Dr Asif Iqbal said: “I am very thankful to the British Heart Foundation for supporting this project and look forward to unravelling this exciting new role for Galectin-9 in thrombo-inflammation”.

The British Heart Foundation project grant amounts to £272,537 and will support the project for three years.

Dr Asif Iqbal