A study conducted by Reading University’s Institute for Cardiovascular and Metabolic Research has discovered that a protein known to regulate cholesterol is also linked to the formation of the type of blood clot known as thrombosis which can lead to heart attacks and strokes.
The researchers believe that by developing drugs that can control the important protein, LXR, they will be able to prevent thrombosis and control cholesterol levels. LXR is already known to control levels of cholesterol however it appears it also inhibits the function of platelets, which can cause the blood to clot when they accumulate, ultimately triggering a heart attack.
The study found that the treatment allowed small clots to form but acted quickly to inhibit their formation by about 40%, preventing them from blocking blood vessels. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) and Heart Research UK funded the study.
The discovery could result in effective treatment and help against heart and circulatory diseases. Each year in the UK there are approximately 32,000 people die after developing a blood clot.