Hem Onc Research Hematology and Vascular Biology

The Division of Hematology and Oncology has several programs in laboratory-based research in vascular biology, thrombosis, and inflammation. Overall, the research theme of these investigators is vascular inflammation and its role in arterial thrombosis. The Alvin Schmaier laboratory focuses on novel mechanisms contributing to arterial thrombosis and cardiovascular health by reducing risk for arterial thrombosis and vascular inflammation.  It characterizes physiologic mechanisms in animal models that influence vessel thrombosis, angiogenesis, and inflammation in the proteins of the plasma kallikrein/kinin and renin-angiotensin systems. Presently it is focused on research on three novel genes/proteins whose absence or deficiency is associated with increased or decreased risk for vascular inflammation, altered angiogenesis and arterial thrombosis. These investigations are specifically on the serine proteases prolylcarboxypeptidase, factor XII and prekallikrein. The work examines the protease and non-protease activities of these proteins in vascular biology. In addition to these laboratory studies, Dr. Schmaier is PI of a clinical research trial (BAY 1Z08) testing a FVIII:C replacement treatment for Hemophilia A.

The Evi Stavrou laboratory is specifically studying the contributions of factor XII to inflammation and thrombosis.  Novel investigations by the Stavrou lab indicate that in vivo there are two pools of factor XII. The hepatic pool of factor XII influences thrombosis risk. Factor XII has a dual phenotype for thrombosis dependent upon the inciting etiology. A second pool of factor XII has been recognized by Dr. Stavrou in leukocytes and it has a unique role in the inflammatory process.  Factor XII contributes to leukocyte function.

The Lalitha Nayak laboratory examines mechanisms by which the vascular transcription factor Kruppel-like factor 2 (KLF2) influences thrombosis risk and platelet function. These investigations explore how KLF2 promotes vascular health by preventing thrombosis through both vascular and platelet mechanisms and by modifying the inflammatory process as mediated by monocytes and macrophages. Further, Dr. Nayak is examining how proteasome inhibitors increase thrombosis risk through mechanisms that regulate vascular inflammation.

Dr. Jane Little is pursuing clinical investigation focused on the Sickle Cell Disease. Clinical research activities in SCD include categorization of prognostic factors, evaluation of hemolysis using exhaled carbon monoxide, at baseline and with crisis, and lab evaluation of stress hematopoiesis and erythropoiesis. In collaboration with Dr. Schilz in Pulmonary, a previously unrecognized pulmonary AV malformation has been recognized and is currently being evaluated. The SCD program is currently recruiting patients to a bicarbonate replacement study and its influence on disease outcome. Last, investigations are being performed on novel renal imaging techniques in this disorder.