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GWU, Peking University Collaborate on NGS-based Study of Aspirin-Insensitive Thrombophilia

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb) – The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences and the Peking University Medical College announced on Tuesday a joint project to elucidate the molecular mechanisms underlying aspirin-insensitive thrombophilia.

Using next-generation DNA and RNA sequencing, researchers from the schools will analyze mRNA expression patterns in blood in order to gain a high-resolution view of the aspirin resistance at the RNA level. The partners said that they will also validate the RNA transcripts in larger patient groups and analyze additional medical parameters that may result in a better understanding, as well as improved diagnosis, of the condition.

While aspirin is a common preventive therapy for heart disease, some patients cannot benefit from the therapy because of aspirin resistance, according to the schools. Previously, GWU scientists and physicians have identified RNA transcripts in blood that may explain aspirin resistance. Using genomic microarrays, they identified patterns of gene expression that suggested that the coagulation disorder may be the result of a type of autoimmune disease in which the patient's own antibodies attack their platelets.

"By studying patients with [aspirin resistance], doctors will eventually be able to identify a different course of treatment or prevention to be used for those with the disease," Tim McCaffrey, director of the division of genomic medicine at GWU's School of Medicine and Health Sciences, said in a statement.

The partners said that they have received "significant funding" for the collaboration but did not disclose the amount. A spokesperson for the GWU School of Medicine and Health Sciences did not respond to a request for additional information.