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Scientific Background

Platelets are small, anucleated blood cells that are essential mediators of primary haemostasis. Upon vessel wall injury, platelet activation and aggregation are crucial to seal wounds and prevent blood loss. However, uncontrolled platelet activation in pathological conditions may lead to occlusive thrombus formation and result in life-threatening diseases, such as myocardial infarction or stroke. Treatment of platelet-dependent thrombosis formation with drugs, such as Aspirin® or clopidogrel, has to be carefully monitored due to the increased bleeding risk.

Thrombo-inflammation is a new principal pathomechanism that involves thrombotic and inflammatory events leading to acute organ damage. This is best characterized in the setting of ischaemic stroke where the interaction of platelets and inflammatory cells drives infarct growth despite having re-established blood flow in the previously occluded brain-feeding artery. Strikingly, the role of platelets in these thrombo-inflammatory events is independent of their traditional role in thrombus formation or haemostasis, and the molecular pathways involved are largely elusive.

In order to individualise anti-thrombo-inflammatory and anti-thrombotic therapy, a deeper and more detailed understanding of platelet function both in normal physiology and in relevant disease settings is needed. The newly established “Thrombo-Inflame” translational network provides an interaction platform between academic research institutions and local, small- and intermedium-sized enterprises that facitlitates scientific exchange between the contributing partners. Our aim is to increase general awareness for the rapidly developing research field of thrombo-inflammatory disorders and to set the stage for joint projects with the aim to develop new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies for these diseases.