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Leveraging platelet signal transduction for personalized antiplatelet therapy

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: National Institutes of Health
Contract: 1R41HL150951-01A1
Agency Tracking Number: R41HL150951
Amount: $259,586.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: STTR
Solicitation Topic Code: NHLBI
Solicitation Number: PA21-262
Solicitation Year: 2021
Award Year: 2022
Award Start Date (Proposal Award Date): 2022-05-06
Award End Date (Contract End Date): 2023-04-30
Small Business Information
Allston, MA 02134-1008
United States
DUNS: 116965365
HUBZone Owned: No
Woman Owned: No
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: No
Principal Investigator
 (708) 369-4683
Business Contact
Phone: (708) 369-4683
Research Institution
BOSTON, MA 02215-5400
United States

 Domestic Nonprofit Research Organization

Project Summary/Abstract
Platelet-mediated thrombosis causes both coronary arterial disease (CAD) and stroke, the first and fifth most
common causes of mortality in the US. Antiplatelet agents, typically aspirin and/or clopidogrel, significantly
improve survival in patients with CAD or stroke and have remained a mainstay of treatment for more than two
decades. Yet despite the consensus that platelet inhibition with aspirin and/or clopidogrel improves outcomes,
recurrence remains common and there is a growing awareness that inappropriate dosing of antiplatelets
contributes to poor outcomes. On one hand, under-dosing of antiplatelet agents can result in increased likelihood
of CAD and stroke recurrence. On the other hand, over-dosing can lead to increased bleeding risk including fatal
intracranial hemorrhage. The scope of this problem is enormous. More than 50 million US citizens have been
prescribed aspirin and/or clopidogrel for cardiovascular disease. Inappropriate responsiveness to either drug
occurs in approximately 25% of patients. Yet despite the unmet need for improved monitoring strategies, the
gold standard for platelet function testing remains platelet aggregometry, which is fundamentally unchanged
since its development 50 years ago. Newer point-of-care (POC) devices have been marketed but require
expensive equipment and consumables and/or have complex readouts and do not lend themselves to the
workflow of high-volume hospitals and doctors’ offices. Thus, there is a vital need for a platelet function assay
that can be simply ordered by physicians and batched to be performed inexpensively in a central laboratory,
similarly to how a CBC or electrolytes are tested. In evaluating the response of platelet signaling pathways to
antiplatelet agents, we have found that the platelet protein Drp1 is under the control of a dual phosphorylation
system. One phosphorylation site (Drp1-Ser616) is phosphorylated in response to platelet agonists and inhibited
by antiplatelet agents. A second site (Drp1-Ser637) is phosphorylated in response to platelet antagonists. This
dual phosphorylation system is extremely sensitive to inhibition by antiplatelet agents and is well-suited for
formatting to monitor antiplatelet therapy. Our assay has shown strong correlation with aggregometry in two
ongoing clinical studies; however, these studies have also underscored the opportunity for important
improvements. We will pursue 3 aims to evaluate the hypothesis that the phosphorylation of Drp1 can be
leveraged to develop a new strategy for rapid, inexpensive monitoring of antiplatelet therapy. In Aim 1, our current
assay will be evaluated for conversion to a fluorescence-based assay to measure both the level of S616 pDrp1
as well as the total level of Drp1 in the same well. In Aim 2, we will establish simple pre-analytical steps for use
in a central laboratory and optimize agonist conditions to precisely define our testing panel. Assay characteristics
such as sensitivity, specificity, precision, and accuracy of the pDrp1 assay will be determined in Aim 3 to ensure
quality control and standardization between laboratories and enable large-scale phase II studies.Project Narrative
Blood platelets contribute to arterial thrombosis, which causes heart attacks and strokes and is responsible for
more deaths in the United States than any other single disease process. Drugs that block the activity of platelets
and inhibit arterial thrombosis are available, but they can affect people differently and therefore personalized
monitoring of antiplatelet agents is highly desirable. This project will generate an inexpensive beta test kit that
will position this novel approach to personalized dosing of life-saving antiplatelet medications for future
commercialization and FDA-approval.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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