Scientists discover how clots cause heart attacks and strokes

Stopping blood clots could make a huge difference to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. Scientists at the University of Birmingham have discovered how clots form a barrier around the heart that kills cancer cells passing through the arteries which is major risk for cancer patients.

The discovery dated back six months to October in international collaboration with Johns Hopkins Medicine Georgetown University in the US sheds new light on clots that between 5 and 10 of people are not even aware of suffering in the heart.

Clotting occurs when a large amount of blood in the heart muscle plasminogen levels are dangerously low and this causes the heart to beat abnormally fast usually causing a heart attack within three to five minutes.

Lead author Dr Denise McConnell of the University of Birmingham Health Sciences Centre Clinical Research Services said:

This discovery by investigators at the University of Birmingham points to the importance of understanding how the preventative management of myocarditis can boost survival in the hearts of thousands of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy.

A major contribution of our work is in identifying a novel mechanism without which myocarditis can cause serious heart failure.

Cytokine signalling is a chemical signalling protein secreted by cells in the body acting to control the rate of cell division which the team showed appears to be involved in the formation of clots.

Clifford Rockefeller Professor of Paediatric Cardiology Royal Marsden NHS Trust said:

It is very common for a 3000 increase in myocarditis to lead to heart failure and in nearly 20 of all cases this results in death. Our work has uncovered new knowledge about the processes involved in generating injurious potentially life-threatening clots in the body.