Florida father, husband living with blood clotting disorder

Researchers taking new measures to evaluate risk

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ORLANDO, Fla. - Jason Flecks experienced some of his darkest days in a hospital.. It's where he was treated for potentially deadly blood clotting and cancer.

"I also had non-Hodgkin's lymphoma as well. One of the nurses had said to me, had I not come in when I did, I may not have made it another day," said Flecks.

He stumbled onto the bad news when he fell off a trampoline at a kid's birthday party.

"I went to see an orthopedic doctor who said there's nothing wrong with your leg, but you may have blood clotting," said Flecks.

 "It's the number one reason why you might die in a hospital," said Florida Hospital Doctor, John Francis. 

Researchers are working on a new test to solve that mystery. It offers a full picture of how your blood cells and proteins work together to form a clot.

"We're measuring the production in the blood of an enzyme called Thrombin. It's really the key—too little, you bleed, too much, you clot," explained Francis.

The goal is to eliminate preventable complications, so at-risk patients like Jason can plan family vacations for years to come.

Flecks didn't know he had the genetic blood clotting disorder until the trampoline accident. So far, knock on wood, his cancer is in remission.

Researchers are hoping to launch clinical trials for the blood clotting diagnostic test by 2014.

Additional Information:

Blood clots can occur under many different circumstances and in many different locations. Blood clots that form in response to an injury or a cut are beneficial, stopping potentially dangerous bleeding. However, a number of conditions can cause you to develop blood clots in critical locations, such as your lungs and brain, and they require medical attention. (Source: mayoclinic.com)

CAUSES: Factors and conditions that can cause blood clots, as well as serious conditions that are associated with blood clots once they form and travel to other parts of your body, include:

  • Antiphospholipid syndrome
  • Certain medications, such as oral contraceptives, hormone therapy drugs and some breast cancer medications
  • Family history of blood clots
  • Obesity
  • Pregnancy
  • Prolonged sitting or bed rest

(Source: www.mayoclinic.com)

TREATMENT: The thrombin generation assay (TGA) is the only global assay that describes the overall capacity of a patient to generate thrombin. Scientists at the Center for Thrombosis Research have further developed and standardized this sophisticated method through extensive work over the last two years. Our method now represents a fully validated, state-of-the-art way to study procoagulant activity in plasma, cancer cells and suspensions of cellular microparticles. We are also working to validate the thrombin generation assay in whole blood samples, and to establish a method for the measurement of microparticles in the blood of cancer patients. This research will contribute to our understanding of cancer-associated hypercoagulability, and could ultimately provide a critical tool for hematologists and oncologists alike, with distinct ramifications for improved patient care. (Source: fhthrombosis.com/CurrentProjects)

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