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Student research project

Supervisor(s): Dr Xiaowei Wang, Professor Karlheinz Peter and Dr Laura Bienvenu

This project would focus on the development of novel targeted drugs that are directed against activated platelets.

Project summary

This research focus on translational research that links the findings from basic science to the practical applications that enhance human health and wellbeing in the clinical settings. Targeted drug delivery allows effective thrombolysis and the potential novel use as a fibrinolytic agent without bleeding complications.

Acute thrombosis causes vessel occlusion and results in ischemic complications, such as myocardial infarction and stroke. Therefore, it is a major cause of death and disability. 

Anti-coagulation and anti-thrombotic drugs are valuable alternatives for the treatment of these acute events where invasive/surgical procedures are not available in a timely fashion. However, the current clinically approved anti-coagulation and anti-thrombotic drugs have significant drawbacks, including bleeding complications. Thus, their use is highly restricted leaving many patients untreated. The use of small recombinant antibodies for diagnostic molecular imaging and targeted drug delivery is well established in our lab.

When thrombosis occurs, there is a thunderstorm of platelet activation and aggregation. Our targeted drugs will locate these activated platelets and accumulate at the site of the clot. This allows a high potency of drugs for efficient and safe thrombolytic treatment. Due to the targeting properties, we can reduce the overall number of drugs needed, therefore there would only be a small concentration of drugs circulating in the blood. This would also enable us to eliminate the current bleeding complications.

This novel targeted agent promises to overcome the current limitations of bleeding complications associated with the clinical thrombolytic therapy. It has the potential to break the fatal link between increased drug potency and bleeding complications.

Related methods, skills or technologies

This project is suitable for a MastersHonours or PhD student and will involve the application of advanced ultrasound imaging, cell biology, Western blots, flowcytometry, statistics, bio- and molecular biology including PCR and recombinant antibody design, production, and purification.

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