Inflammation plays a role in a wide variety of diseases, from rheumatic diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, to cardiovascular disease. While there are many labs exploring how traditional immune cells, such as white blood cells, contribute to inflammation, our group is one of the very few research groups looking at the role of platelets in inflammation. Our findings could be hugely beneficial in terms of developing new treatments for inflammatory conditions, as well as new strategies for preventing adverse reactions to platelet transfusions.
Most existing treatments work by targeting cells of the immune system, but in doing so, they suppress the patient's immunity. New therapies that target platelets could offer relief to patients without making them more vulnerable to infection. In addition, by increasing our understanding of how platelets contribute to inflammation, our research could lead to better ways of tracking the progression of inflammatory illnesses, and identifying the patients that are most at risk of developing serious forms of inflammatory disease.
"'The essential is invisible to the eye' – that is the message of the tale Le Petit Prince by Saint-Exupéry. In line with this reasoning, our research will explore the role of platelets and their minuscule particles in disease. In doing so, we will shed light on new targets for the development of new treatments for diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis and lupus, with little or no impact on the patient's immune system."