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Medical College wins $10M to study bleeding disorder

March 12, 2012

A $10 million grant will allow The Medical College of Wisconsin to study Von Willebrand disease, the most common hereditary bleeding disorder.

The money from the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute Program will be used to research genetic causes of low or abnormal von Willebrand factor, which is necessary for normal blood clotting, according to an MCW news release.

The disease, which affects men and women, is typically mild. But aspirin and other anti-inflammatory drugs can make the condition worse. The study will determine the clinical and genetic characteristics of a large number of patients as well as carriers of genes for various forms of the disease.

In addition, there are seven primary clinical centers - Milwaukee, Atlanta, Detroit, Pittsburgh, New Orleans, Indianapolis and Iowa City - and more than 25 secondary clinical centers throughout the United States that recruit research subjects and send the samples to Wauwatosa for the specialized testing. More than 600 families have been recruited for this project.

Robert R. Montgomery, a professor of pediatrics at the Medical College, senior investigator at the Blood Research Institute and pediatric hematologist at Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, is principal investigator for the grant.

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