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NHF Announces the 2013 NHF/Novo Nordisk Career Development Award Recipient

September 1, 2013

The National Hemophilia Foundation (NHF) is pleased to announce Annette von Drygalski, MD, PharmD, Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine, University of California at San Diego, as the recipient of the NHF/Novo Nordisk 2013 Career Development Award (CDA).  The overall objectives of the CDA are to advance bleeding disorders research by promoting the development of novel and innovative studies among established investigators.  The award funds basic, pre-clinical or clinical research approaches to yielding scientific information or answers contributing to better treatments for inheritable bleeding disorders. 

Dr. von Drygalski's CDA project is "Anti-fibrinolytic Strategies to Decrease Bleeding in Hemophilic Arthropathy". Her research focuses on better understanding the mechanisms operating the anti-fibrinolytic system and how this process works in patients with hemophilia and specifically with joint bleeding.  Her mentors and collaborators will be John H. Griffin, PhD, Laurent O. Mosnier, PhD and Martin Lotz, MD, distinguished researchers at The Scripps Research Institute. 

Accelerated fibrinolysis and clot instability are becoming increasingly recognized as contributing factors to bleeding in hemophilia.  One important molecule that prevents fibrinolysis is called TAFI (Thrombin Activatable Fibrinolysis Inhibitor).  TAFI has low activity in hemophilia since it requires activation by thrombin which is not sufficiently generated in hemophilia.  Interestingly, active TAFI not only prevents clot resolution, it has been recently discovered to have anti-inflammatory properties in rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis.  Dr. von Drygalski will be studying the dual anti-fibrinolytic and anti-inflammatory functions of TAFI in hemophilia arthropathy and develop a therapeutic TAFI-based approach to improving the efficacy of FVIIa based bypassing strategies for acute bleeding and joint protection.  Her studies will be utilizing specifically engineered long-acting TAFI molecules in the plasma of patients with hemophilia as well as in vivo using mouse models. 

Von Drygalski received a MD from the Universities of Erlangen/Nurnberg and Munich in 1995 and her PharmD from the University of Munich in 1988.  She joined the faculty in July 2011 as Assistant Clinical Professor at UCSD and Director of the Adult Hemophilia and Thrombosis Treatment Center (HTC) in the Division of Hematology/Oncology, Department of Medicine.  She also has an appointment as Adjunct Assistant Professor at the Scripps Research Institute (TSRI).  Dr. von Drygalski has published several first author publications in peer-reviewed journals and was a recipient of the Bayer Early Career Investigator Award in 2012.  Her long-term career goal is to continue building her career as a physician-scientist by developing a strong basic and translational research program for hemophilia while continuing to treat adult patients with hemophilia and other bleeding disorders. 

Through the CDA, von Drygalski will receive $70,000 per year for up to three years.  This award was selected through a process of peer review conducted by NHF's Research Review Committee.  This volunteer committee is made up of highly experienced and respected physicians and researchers working in the field of hematology.  NHF wishes to thank them as well as Novo Nordisk, Inc. for their very generous support of this research award.