Every year, 600,000–900,000 people in the United States develop blood clots, and about 300,000 people die from blood clotting events (http://www.stoptheclot.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/FactSheet-Washington.pdf). Throughout the month of March, several organizations and health care professionals recognized National Blood Clot Awareness Month and focused on raising awareness for blood clot prevention and treatment.
As a 2009 graduate of the CTEP Master’s Program, Maria T. De Sancho, MD, MSc, investigated risk factors for clinical manifestations in patients with factor V Leiden and prothrombin gene G20210A mutations. She has been an Associate Professor of Clinical Medicine at Weill Cornell Medical College and an Associate Attending Physician at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital since January 2006. She also serves as Service Chief of the Benign Hematology Service in the Division of Hematology and Medical Oncology. After graduating from the CTEP program, she has developed a successful clinical research program regarding the treatment and prevention of blood clots, and she conducts clinical trials in Benign Hematology. As a clinical researcher, her interests are in thrombosis and hemostasis. Her areas of concentration include risk factors for vascular thrombosis, optimal duration of anticoagulation, education for prevention of thrombosis and thrombophilia and women’s health.
Dr. De Sancho is currently a co-investigator with Dr. Katherine A. Hajjar on the CTSC-sponsored Fibrinolysis in Thrombophilia (FiT) study. The FiT study uses several CTSC services including the CTSC Outpatient Unit, CTSC Research Aides, and REDCap data management. Taking advantage of our support services increases study efficiency by helping investigators focus on answering their research questions: the Outpatient Unit decreases patient waiting time by performing standard-of-care and research procedures during a single visit, Research Aides maintain regulatory documents, and REDCap provides quick, HIPAA-compliant access to infinitely customizable analyses. The purpose of the FiT study is to determine if a deficiency state of a certain protein called annexin A2, or problems in other parts of the process of breaking down a blood clot (called fibrinolysis), occurs in a certain population of patients who have experienced a blood clot, who are at risk for experiencing a blood clot, or in the general population of people. In many cases, patients who experience a blood clot are negative for the known tests that determine an inherited increased thrombosis risk when evaluated by a hematologist. Dr. De Sancho and Dr. Hajjar hope the findings of this study will help physicians faced with difficult decisions about how long to continue blood-thinning therapies in this population of patients.
Beyond the clinic, Dr. De Sancho continues her awareness efforts through the Thrombosis Committee of the American Thrombosis and Hemostasis Network (ATHN). Through the ATHN, she has helped promote a nationwide effort to develop a national registry with a thrombosis data set. She believes that this database will help other clinical investigators develop new epidemiological studies that could lead to greater prevention and treatment of thrombosis and hemostasis.
Currently, Dr. De Sancho is part of several on-going thrombosis prevention and awareness efforts. Her aim is to improve awareness concerning the underlying role thrombosis plays in the three leading causes of cardiovascular death: heart attack, stroke, and venous thromboembolism (VTE). One of the deadliest thrombotic events, VTE accounts for nearly half a million deaths annually in Europe—more than the combined total of deaths attributed to AIDS, breast and prostate cancer, and highway accidents. In the United States, at least 100,000 (https://www.isth.org/?WTD) people die of VTE annually, while more than half a million people are hospitalized related to VTE.
With the International Society on Thrombosis and Haemostasis (ISTH), Dr. De Sancho is working to raise global VTE awareness by encouraging healthcare institutions to join a global effort to promote World Thrombosis Day, October 13, 2014. While this year’s World Thrombosis Day will focus on VTE, subsequent World Thrombosis Days will highlight other types of thrombotic events.
Fact sheet (National Blood Clot Alliance): http://www.stoptheclot.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/FactSheet-Washington.pdf
For more information on American Thrombosis & Hemostasis Network: http://www.athn.org/
For more information on World Thrombosis Day: https://www.isth.org/?WTD