Perth Blood Institute is pleased to announce it is the recipient of the Norma Beaconsfield Project Grant, awarded by the Dementia Australia Research Foundation (DARF). This $75,000 grant will allow the Platelet Research Team, based at Murdoch University, to continue important investigations into the effect of blood-thinning medication on dementia risk.

The grant application process, led by Dr Pat Metharom, was extremely competitive. DARF offers project grants to new, early- and mid-career researchers to help build the capacity of the dementia research sector. Previous grant recipients have been integral to dementia research in Australia.

“This award from DARF provides critical support to our biomedical research into understanding the impact of Factor X beyond its primary role in coagulation. Without the generosity of DARF, a pilot study such as ours would not be possible.” Pat Metharom, Platelet Senior Scientist

Blood-thinning medication known as anticoagulants are used to prevent dangerous blood clots in people with medical conditions such as venous thromboembolism – which includes deep vein thrombosis and pulmonary embolism. Many anticoagulant drugs prevent dangerous clotting by blocking proteins in the blood known as “clotting factors”.

In healthy people, clotting occurs at a wound to prevent excessive bleeding. One way this occurs is through cells in the blood called platelets.

But – certain platelets may also increase your risk of Alzheimer’s disease by producing a protein known as “amyloid beta” which can cause damage to the brain.

Using anticoagulants may increase the risk of Alzhiemer’s disease and other dementias by causing platelets to produce more amyloid beta.

Dr Pat Metharom’s research aims to study this by exploring three main things:

  1. Whether anticoagulants drugs cause more amyloid beta to be produced in the blood (in a test-tube)
  2. Whether mice given anticoagulants produce more amyloid beta
  3. Whether patients who have used anticoagulants long-term have higher levels of amyloid beta in their blood

This research will help determine whether certain blood-thinning drugs may increase the risk of Alzheimer’s and will help to increase the safety of patients.

Perth Blood Institute would like to thank DARF for providing the grant, allowing the team to continue this important research.