Case Western Reserve University researchers have discovered that an existing drug used to help cancer patients has the potential to protect thousands of others from the often-deadly impact of vascular clots.
In 2008, the Food and Drug Administration approved bortezomib (Velcade) to treat multiple myeloma, which is a type of bone cancer and mantle cell lymphoma a particularly aggressive form of non-Hodgkin lymphoma. In addition to attacking cancer cells, the drug has been shown to help prevent clot development common to many forms of the disease.
As hematologist Lalitha Nayak, MD, an assistant professor of medicine, reports in the June 12 edition of the journal Blood, the anti-thrombotic effects of bortezomib are determined by KLF2, part of a family of Kruppel-like factors master regulators of vascular health.
"We thought that if we could figure out how bortezomib protects against thrombosis," Nayak explained, "we might be closer to understanding why our patients develop blood clots and what could be done to help them."
She is also a member of the Mukesh Jain, MD, Laboratory at Case Western Reserve University, so she was also well aware of the laboratory's work in Kruppel-like factors. KLF2 specifically is a protein in the Kruppel-like gene family of transcription factors that prevents clot formation in the body's major blood vessels. (Transcription factor is a protein that controls the flow of genetic information that provides instructions to our bodies on how to function.)
"Work from our laboratory during the past decade has established Kruppel-like factors as nodal regulators of vascular health," said Jain, cardiologist and professor of medicine. "It was a good educated guess by Dr. Nayak that bortezomib's positive effect on vascular function was linked to a member of this family."
Nayak concurs. "We hypothesized that bortezomib protects against thrombosis by increasing KLF levels," she said.'/>"/>
|Contact: Jeannette Spalding|
Case Western Reserve University