OMRF receives $23.8M to study blood coagulation

Published: Monday, November 25, 2013 By: Sarah Terry-Cobo Source: The Journal Record

OKLAHOMA CITY – Charles Esmon is looking to trauma for the answer to healing.

The scientist is a member of the Coagulation Biological Laboratory at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation and is part of a collaboration to study how blood clots. He said he hopes his latest research project will lead to a drug that helps prevent the leading cause of death among people ages 5 to 55, traumatic injury.

Esmon received $23.8 million to lead a collaboration of scientists across the country to study the clots associated with trauma. The scientists are looking at a protein called histone, which is released when a cell is crushed and limits the body’s ability to properly clot.

In the five-year study, funded by the National Institutes of Health, Esmon aims to learn several things: when histones are released after the trauma; if the level of histones predict a bad outcome in a patient; and if the histones could be blocked, whether that would prevent internal bleeding, organ damage or death.

“The goal of the study is to provide such a strong rationale (that) we can attract a large pharmaceutical company to invest $500 million to $1 billion to develop the drug,” Esmon said.

He and his collaborators will create animal models to help guide how to develop the drug for humans. Trauma surgeons will take samples from people with traumatic injuries at different times to measure the level of the histones. Each sample is less than a drop of blood, and each patient will have a few samples taken. The study needs about 10,000 samples. The drug could block or neutralize histones to prevent them from affecting the body’s ability to coagulate.

A large part of Esmon’s work will be to design a system to organize people, samples and data.

“The main challenge of the research is to set up a network of collaborators,” he said. “These are real complex experiments that no individual lab can do on its own. This grant sets up this giant network.”

If the research pans out as he expects, Esmon said the team could begin developing a drug within five to 10 years.

Read the story on The Journal Record.

Back to top