Identification of novel pathogenic antiplatelet antibodies in ITP

Dr James Crawley (Senior Lecturer in Haematology Imperial College London/Hammersmith Hospital) was awarded £60,000 by The ITP Support Association in 2013 for a 16 month project to investigate why antibodies bind to platelets and cause their destruction. Current techniques allowed limited research into antibody binding, and by using new techniques Dr Crawley hopes to identify antibodies binding to novel sites on the platelet. This research has the potential to improve patient monitoring and may ultimately help to guide treatment.

Dr Cooper and myself advertised for the research position associated with our ITP Support Association award. We had a promising number of applicants. We shortlisted 5 candidates for interview and offered the position to Adrienn Orosz. She is highly capable, meticulous in her approach and comes from a good lab with a strong background in haemostasis. During Adrienn's time with us she has already been fundamental to the successful development of some of the assays that we have been setting up in the lab looking at ITP patient anti-platelet antibodies. So far we have successfully achieved the following:

  • Developed an assay that can accurately and sensitively identify those ITP patients that have autoantibodies that recognise their platelets. This assay is much improved on the commercially available anti platelet antibody tests in that it is quicker, cheaper and allows detection of all anti platelet antibodies (rather than just a small subset)
  • Collected anti platelet antibodies from a new cohort of patients attending Nikki's clinic anti categorised them according to treatment, anti platelet antibody status, platelet count etc…
  • Developed an assay that will now enable us to identify the platelet surface proteins to which patient antibodies bind. We have performed this assay just once so far, but the results are very encouraging. With further optimisation, this assay will hopefully start to provide new insights in the near future into the nature of autoimmunity in ITP patients.
  • Identified a patient with anti platelet antibodies that, likely due to the antibodies, has a consequent platelet function deficiency.

We are extremely encouraged by the progress that we have made so far in getting new assays set up in a comparatively short period of time and are confident that these approaches will develop our understanding of the pathogenesis of ITP.

Dr James Crawley. May 2013

Dr James Crawley

Please help us fund more ITP research projects by making a donation today

You can make a donation by clicking the Charity Choice logo below:

or you can become a Member of the ITP Support Association, click the link below:

Join us