Researchers from the University of Chicago reported that closely monitoring a key protein in the blood might help predict the onset of excessive and potentially dangerous blood clots. The protein is called tissue factor and it is one of the essential blood clotting factors. It ensures that platelets adhere to an injury site to stem bleeding. Greater concentrations of the protein could indicate an increased likelihood for excessive clotting.
Results of tests conducted by the research team seemed to add validity to the theory.
“When we exposed blood to tissue factor that was localized to large patches on surfaces, clotting initiated,” said Christian J. Kastrup, a University of Chicago chemistry graduate student and study co-author. “In contrast, when blood was exposed to tissue factor that was spread out within the sample, clotting did not occur.”
Scientists anticipate that measuring tissue factor levels will eventually become a diagnostic tool doctors use to predict and prevent excessive clot formation.
The article, “Modular Chemical Mechanism Predicts Spatiotemporal Dynamics of Initiation in the Complex Network of Hemostasis,” was published in the October 24, 2006 issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Source: LiveScience.com feature posted November 6, 2006