HRU History

The Haemostasis Research Unit was set up by Prof Sam Machin and Dr Ian Mackie more than 25 years ago, to investigate the pathphysiology of thrombosis and bleeding disorders. Over 200 publications have resulted from our work and a selction are listed on the Unit's Publications page. The main areas of research within this field have invloved work with new platelet inhibitor drugs, platelet function testing, the antiphospholipid antibody syndrome (APS), combined oral contraceptives, thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP), the kallikrein-kinin system, thrombin generation and point of care testing.

We are currently investigating different target proteins for the auto-antibodies present in blood from patients with APS, potential mechanisms for thrombosis (a frequent complication in these patients), and the efficacy of direct acting oral anticoagulants. We are also studying the ability of these antibodies to promote thrombin generation (thrombin is the enzyme that causes fibrin clot formation). Certain patients make increased amounts of thrombin and are resistant to a natural inhibitor protein (protein C).

TTP is a rare, but life threatening disease that usually involves an abnormality of an enzyme known as ADAMTS-13. This controls the activity of a plasma protein called von Willebrand factor (VWF), which is responsible for helping platelets to stick at a wound site and plug the hole in the blood vessel. If the activity of VWF is too high and uncontrolled, blood platelets tend to stick together in places where they are not required, which can cause clumps of platelets in the capillaries. This results in thrombosis, red blood cells damage, lysis and tissue injury. We have developed a number of laboratory methods for measuring ADAMTS-13 and VWF activity in TTP and are studying the in vitro expression of ADAMTS-13 mutants in cell culture systems.

We like to involved a partnership of both clinicians and scientists in our various areas of research. This requires a continuous fund raising exercise and we rely heavily on philanthropic contributions.