Indian-American leading multidisciplinary study on blood clots

Professor Sriram Krishnaswamy of University of Pennsylvania. (Photo: LinkedIn)

An Indian-American researcher at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP), and professor of Pediatrics at the Perelman School of Medicine of University of Pennsylvania, was recently awarded a major grant for studying thrombosis, the life-threatening blood clots that form in arteries and veins.

Dr. Sriram Krishnaswamy leads a multidisciplinary team for the study which was awarded a five-year Program Project Grant “Hemstasis and Thrombosis: Chemistry, Biology and Physiology” according to an article which appeared in CHOP blog Cornerstone. The article entitled, “New Grant Awarded to Study Mechanisms of Clotting” was published on December 21, 2018.

The goals of Dr. Krishnaswamy and colleagues is to use the multidisciplinary approach to look at the mechanisms of clotting, figure out how to modulate it in a better way than current drugs, and, ultimately, reveal new approaches for the treatment of human diseases, the CHOP Research Institute article said.

His team of investigators, including Rodney Camire, PhD, professor of Pediatrics in the Perelman School of Medicine at Penn and member of the Division of Hematology and Raymond G. Perelman Center for Cellular and Molecular Therapeutics at CHOP; Valder Arruda, MD, PhD, researcher in CHOP’s Division of Hematology and associate professor of Pediatrics at Penn; Timothy Stalker, PhD, research assistant professor of Medicine at Penn: and Bruce Sullenger, PhD, of Duke University, has been working together since 2003, the CHOP Research Institute article noted.

“This is one of the most concerted group efforts, perhaps in the world but certainly in the United States, where there are so many investigators working together on mechanistic aspects of coagulation,” Dr.  Krishnaswamy is quoted saying in the CHOP Research Institute article, adding, “The problem with too much clotting is by far one of the most staggering medical issues in the Western world,” Dr. Krishnaswamy said. “It’s the largest cost — related to hospitalization and loss of life — of any disease out there.”

Finding out the biological process that contributes to disease is critical to finding a treatment, he noted. “And treating it is a multi-billion dollar market for drug makers,” Krishnaswamy said in the CHOP Research Institute article, adding, “Our goal is to use innovative approaches — multidisciplinary approaches — to try to understand the basic mechanisms by which blood clots.”

Thrombosis is often thought of as an old person’s disease, but not necessarily so, Dr. Krishnaswamy said. With a variety of childhood disorders requiring the use of catheters or central lines for infusion therapy, thrombosis is problematic among the younger population too. So understanding thrombosis and ultimately finding a safe treatment for it, will have a major impact on healthcare, he contends.

Many of today’s drug approaches used to modulate or reduce excessive clotting require careful monitoring, according to Dr. Krishnaswamy. If the medication is dosed incorrectly, excessive bleeding may occur, or the drug may not inhibit thrombosis effectively.

“It’s a critical balancing act between clotting and bleeding,” Dr. Krishnaswamy is quoted saying in the CHOP Research Institute article, adding, “The newer drugs are supposedly less problematic, but they have not been developed in an imaginative way.”

Krishnaswamy  had his early education at Lawrence School, Lovedale, near Ootacamund, in Tamil Nadu, following which he graduated from Denstone College in U.K., and went on to get degrees from Syracuse University, N.Y., in biology and biochemistry. He did his post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Vermont.




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