New insights into what causes uncontrollable bleeding in hemophilia patients are provided in a study published by Cell Press on November 20th in the Biophysical Journal. By revealing that blood clots spread in traveling waves through vessels, the study offers new strategies that could lead to the development of more effective treatments for hemophilia as well as common cardiovascular disorders.
"Disorders of blood coagulation are a leading and immediate cause of mortality and morbidity in the developed world," says senior study author Fazoil Ataullakhanov of Moscow State University. "Our results reveal the mechanisms behind the growth of blood clots that are critical for the development of novel drugs and diagnostic assays."
Blood clotting is crucial for preventing excessive blood loss when vessels are damaged. It relies on a network of proteins, including thrombin and factor XI, which are activated upon injury and result in the formation of fibrin-the protein that makes up clots. Patients with hemophilia C lack factor XI, and it has been a long-standing mystery why they experience uncontrollable bleeding even though they're missing only one component of the clotting network.