Clint Spiegel, PhD, Assistant Professor of Chemistry at Western Washington University in Bellingham, has been awarded a three-year, $390,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to research potential new therapies for hemophilia A. He will focus on treatments that are less likely to trigger inhibitors, antibodies the immune system produces to neutralize infused factor VIII (FVIII). Inhibitors are a challenging complication arising in approximately 30% of people with hemophilia A.
Spiegel’s research team will crystallize FVIII to look at its structures on a three-dimensional, atomic level and then use recombinant DNA techniques to make its protein structure tougher and more resistant to inhibitors.
“I’ve had an interest in this subject area since I was a graduate student at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center; it’s something I’m very familiar with and have worked on for years,” said Spiegel. “There are also quite a few parallels between hemophilia research and heart disease research, and my father suffered from heart disease for more than 20 years, so I’ve got a personal interest in it as well.”
Source: Western Washington University news release dated June 7, 2010