Researchers at the University of Rochester Medical Center have news that could save the lives of many cancer patients.
Blood clots can cause serious if not deadly complications in many diseases. And cancer is one of the diseases that has a high incidence of blood clots. As a matter of fact, the number are increasing. Researchers have a theory that it may be caused by side effects associated with a new class of anti-angiogenic drugs that are becoming more popular because they have a low toxic level. The offset of this is the fact that they cause bleeding problems.
Blood clots are hard to treat. Cancer patients have enough drugs to worry about without having to take another one to clear up blood clots.
That is why the latest research from the University of Rochester Medical Center is so important. It does not focus on clearing up blood clots, it focuses on the prevention of blood clots and they are able to predict which patients will not develop a blood clot with a 98% certainty. With this knowledge, the physician can choose which course of treatment to administer to that particular patient.
Early death from blood clots has happed to many cancer patients. In fact, according to figures from the University, it happened to 41,666 out of 1 million patients in the years from 1995 to 2003.
Since blood clots are usually associate with heart patients, the research was conducted with the cooperation of the oncologists and cardiologists at the University of Rochester and together they were able to discover the way blood clots develop in the cancer patient. Then they were able to figure out why only some cancer patients developed blood clots and that led to the discovery of how to prevent them.
They have narrowed it down to 5 factors that they look at when determining if a patient has the tendency to develop blood clots. Those are the type of cancer. The worse ones are cancers of the pancreas, stomach, brain and lung. The second factor is having a body mass index of 35 or higher. A blood sample is taken and they look at three components namely, platelets, hemoglobin and the white cell count. If a patient is considered at high risk to develop blood clots, they can be given a blood thinner.
They also look at th TF, tissue factor, protein which regulates the clotting of blood. Patients with a high Tf rating, which can be caused by tumors, are more likely to develop blood clots. The researchers hope that they will be able to develop a test that could be administrated at the time a tumor is scheduled for a biopsy that would be able to give a quick analysis of the TF factor and predict the patient’s chances for a blood clot right away.