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New fats discovery 'could reduce deaths from stroke and heart attack'

Credit: Tim Ockenden/PA Archive/PA Images

Researchers at Cardiff University says they have discovered a new family of lipids (fats) that plays a key role in controlling clot formation.

The new discovery could lead to new ways of reducing the risk of excess clotting, called thrombosis, potentially preventing deaths from many killer diseases like heart attacks, strokes and deep vein thrombosis.

While clot formation is an essential response to injury, the formation of unwanted clots is central to many killer diseases. The most obvious are stroke or heart attack where a blood clot blocks a vessel and causes oxygen deprivation and organ damage, but subtle changes in blood clotting are involved in many inflammatory diseases too, such as sepsis, diabetes and even cancer.

– Professor Valerie O'Donnell, Cardiff University

With the discovery of new lipids that promote clot formation, we can find new ways to prevent unwanted clots being generated and even use these lipids to help reduce blood loss where excessive bleeding is a problem, such as hereditary bleeding disorders or bleeding during childbirth.

– Professor Peter Collins, Cardiff University