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NHLBI to Provide $10M for MCW Genetic, Clinical Study of Blood Disorder

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – Medical College of Wisconsin researchers have received a $10 million grant from the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute to continue a study of molecular and genetic factors involved in von Willebrand Disease, or VWD, the most common hereditary bleeding disorder.

MCW will use the five-year grant to further a clinical research project that involves 600 families, and other US and international partners, to learn more about the genes and clinical factors involved in causing a deficiency of von Willebrand factor, or VWF, which is required for normal blood clotting.

"There is a lack of understanding of the genetic causes of low or abnormal VWF, and the molecular mechanisms involved in the disorder," principal investigator Robert Montgomery, a professor of pediatrics at MCW, said in a statement.

"While a large number of individuals have low VWF with abnormal bleeding symptoms, it is not scientifically clear if this is a disease, or if VWF is a continuous risk-factor for bleeding. For many practicing physicians, the general understanding of this group of disorders has not been optimal, and how to evaluate and treat these patients has been unclear."

The project will study both VWD patients and carriers to learn more about how specific combinations of genes and genetic mutations affect families.

Seven primary clinical centers spread around the US will support the study, as well as 25 secondary clinical centers, and it will involve partners through subcontracts to Queens University in Canada and the University of Sheffield in the UK.

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