Barry Coller, David Rockefeller Professor and the university's physician-in-chief, says that focusing on a receptor on the surface of blood platelets could offer new insights insight into potential causes and treatments for certain heart diseases. Platelets are the blood cells that cause clotting and play an important role in the development of many heart diseases.
Coller has been working on Glanzmann thrombasthenia, a rare disorder, in which platelets lack one of two proteins. The two protiens, áIIb and â3, are involved in collecting blood cells for coagulation. By analyzing patients with this disorder, Coller was able to arrive at a new therapy, which could give hope to heart attack and stroke patients. The findings are published in the April 1 issue of Blood. Coller and Beau Mitchell, a research associate in Coller's lab along with colleagues at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine found that the production of the protein was controlled by a third molecule called calnexin, which plays an important role in protein folding. These receptors could also play a role in cancer formation and metastases. But further research is needed. "Insights into rare diseases allow us to study and devise strategies for common diseases," Coller said.