Understanding why blood vessels in people with lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome are damaged

Disease - Systemic lupus erythematosis, antiphospholipid syndrome

Lead applicant - Dr Charis Pericleous

Organisation - Imperial College London

Type of grant - Career Development Fellowship

Status of grant - Active

Amount of the original award - £495,359.87

Start date - 1 May 2016

Reference - 21223

Public Summary

What are the aims of this research?

This research aims to understand why vascular disease, an abnormal condition of the blood vessels which can lead to serious complications such as a heart attack, often develops in people with conditions such as lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome.

Why is this research important?

People with lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome are at increased risk of developing clots and atherosclerosis, a serious condition in which the arteries become clogged by fatty substances known as plaques or atheroma, which can cause heart attacks and strokes. This is because the antibodies found in the blood of these individuals can damage the inner lining of blood vessels, known as the endothelium. If we can establish exactly how these antibodies can cause harmful signals and disrupt protective signals in lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome, we can look for new therapies to reverse this process.

How will the findings benefit patients?

This research could lead to the development of new drugs which are capable of switching off harmful signals and switching on protective signals within the lining of blood vessels. These drugs could reduce the risk of having a heart attack or stroke in people with lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome.