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$11 million grant to study life-threatening blood clots in trauma patients

July 26, 2019

Denver, CO, June 03, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) --

Denver Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine have been awarded an $11 million grant to study complications related to blood coagulation and inflammation in patients who have sustained severe traumatic injuries.

The prestigious 5-year grant, awarded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), recognizes Denver Health’s and the University’s leadership in the field of trauma medicine and will provide doctors with the cutting edge research they need to save the lives of trauma patients.

“This is a huge deal,” said Mitchell Cohen, M.D., Denver Health Chair of Surgery and Professor of Surgery at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “This is a very important big science grant for trauma from the NIH and we are proud it is coming to the Trauma Research Program.”

The Trauma Research Program is a partnership between the University of Colorado School of Medicine and Denver Health that brings together physicians and basic scientists to conduct research into trauma. Denver Health trauma patients have a 98 percent survival rate, one of the best in the nation.

Dr. Cohen said the grant would help researchers study the life-threatening interplay between blood clotting, inflammation and the immune system, known as “thrombo-inflammation.

Serious injury can make blood “hypocoagulable,” or too thin, just when blood should be clotting to prevent excessive bleeding. Then, when the blood of trauma patients does clot, it can become “hypercoagulable,” or too thick, leading to strokes, heart attacks and pulmonary emboli.

At the same time, there’s an interaction between blood clotting and the human body’s inflammation and immune systems. If these are not carefully balanced and controlled in patients, the initial injury can amplify, leading to organ failure, infection and death.

“Evolution says we were never meant to survive being shot, stabbed or run-over,” said Dr. Cohen.

“Modern medical care makes this possible. But as the body tries to survive, your biology becomes dysregulated. Our job as scientists is to understand these regulatory mechanisms, and then our job as physicians is to help re-regulate your body. This grant will help us understand how to do this more effectively.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in the first half of life, more Americans die from violence and injuries — such as motor vehicle crashes, falls, or homicides — than from any other cause, including cancer, HIV, or the flu. This makes injury the leading cause of death among persons 1-44. Thrombo-inflammation is a leading underlying cause of traumatic deaths.

The grant goes toward a collaborative effort of six principal investigators Chris Silliman, Gene Moore, Ken Jones, Kirk Hanesn, Angelo D’Alessandro and Mitchell Cohen, , and other associated researchers, and builds on work done by the Trauma Research Program, which has played a pivotal role in defining basic mechanisms for post injury biology and physiology for decades.

The grant comes on the eve of the 46th annual Rocky Mountain Trauma and Emergency Medicine Conference, which provides quality continuing education for emergency and trauma care providers.

The conference this year runs from June 5 – 8 in Vail, Colorado and consists of a wide array of local, national and international experts from Trauma, Emergency Medicine, Nursing and Paramedics.

About Denver Health

Denver Health is a comprehensive, integrated organization providing level one care for all, regardless of ability to pay. Denver Health provides medical care to nearly one-third of Denver’s population, proudly serving as the city’s safety-net hospital and providing preventative, primary and acute care services.

About the University of Colorado School of Medicine

Faculty at the University of Colorado School of Medicine work to advance science and improve care. The school is located on the Anschutz Medical Campus, one of four campuses in the University of Colorado system.

Denver Health and the University of Colorado School of Medicine have been awarded an $11 million grant to study complications related to blood coagulation and inflammation in patients who have sustained severe traumatic injuries.

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