Aim and focus
The blood coagulation system consists of an intricate set of reactions that protect the body from bleeding and thrombosis. In general, the system is well-balanced and excessive bleeding or runaway coagulation in an individual are not daily events, but the life-time risk of a single event is nevertheless high. In cases with profound inherited or acquired imbalances in the coagulation system (e.g. hemophilia, severe deficiencies of natural anticoagulants, auto-antibodies against coagulation proteins, lupus anticoagulants, severe acute infection, et cetera) it is relatively easy to understand the risk of bleeding or thrombosis. Much more difficult to understand is thrombosis or bleeding of a more episodic nature which occurs ‘out of the blue’ in otherwise healthy individuals. Research in the department of Thrombosis and Hemostasis firstly focuses on the discovery of environmental and genetic risk factors for venous thrombosis and bleeding. This is achieved mostly in clinically oriented studies including family studies and case-control studies of patients with bleeding or thrombosis. These studies are supported by fundamental studies of various aspects of coagulation with emphasis on cellular effects of activated clotting factors, and by experimental studies in genetically modified mice. These latter studies provide the mechanistical framework for the interpretation of the clinical studies eventually resulting not only in a better understanding of thrombosis and bleeding, but also in better tailored treatment and in new leads for drugs.
Most of the research of the department of Thrombosis and Hemostasis (16C1) is housed within the Einthoven Laboratory for Experimental Vascular Medicine. This laboratory was created as a condensation point for vascular research at the LUMC. Several clinical departments participate in the Einthoven Laboratory including Nephrology, Cardiology, Thrombosis and Hemostasis, and Clinical Epidemiology. At the moment, the multidisciplinary Einthoven Laboratory (link naar website lumc-einthoven laboratorium)houses more than 35 researchers who work closely together on a large variety of research projects, including those described on this webpage.
Position in an international context
Much of the research is performed in international collaborations, amongst others in a Translational Network of the Fondation Leducq (with the universities of Seattle, Oklahoma, Vermont, Leuven and Paris).
Cohesion and connections within the LUMC
The department of Thrombosis and Hemostasis is a key member of the LUMC theme ‘Vascular Medicine’. Within this theme there is a strong collaboration with research programmes of several LUMC departments such as Nephrology, Cardiology, Endocrinology, Vascular Surgery, et cetera. This collaboration has resulted in the foundation of the Einthoven Laboratory for Experimental Vascular Medicine. Moreover, the department of Thrombosis and Hemostasis is a key member of Leiden Vascular Medicine, a network that is supported by the Dutch Heart Foundation and which includes in addition to departments from the LUMC also research groups from the Amsterdam-Leiden-Amsterdam Center for Drug Research, and the TNO-Gaubius Department Prevention and Health.
Research at the department of Thrombosis and Hemostasis is organized in three major research themes:
- Theme 1: Genetic and environmental aspects of venous thrombosis
- Theme 2: Genetic and environmental aspects of bleeding
- Theme 3: Cellular aspects of blood coagulation
In the coming years, existing research lines will be continued. A major effort will consist of conducting several large genetic studies in a family setting (GIFT, GENES) and in a case-control setting (MEGA, COLOSSUS). In addition we will strengthen our capabilities in fundamental research, most notable within the context of experimental mouse studies and of cellular effects of coagulation factors. Finally, the department will actively participate in setting up and conducting the Netherlands Epidemiology of Obesity (NEO) study, which will be a joint effort of many departments of the LUMC, with collaborators in other Dutch centres.