Gas6 is a platelet-response amplifier that, if inhibited, protects from thrombosis without inducing bleeding. Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a common condition that can be fatal if fractions of the clot break off and lodge in the arteries of the lungs. Heparin, warfarin and aspirin prevent clot formation but may induce bleeding.

In the February Nature Medicine researchers from the Centre for Transgene technology and Gene Therapy at Flanders Interuniversity Institute for Biotechnology, Belgium, describe a potential new target for the development of anti-thrombotic drugs.

Anne Angelillo-Scherrer and colleagues found that when the gene coding for a vitamin K-dependent protein called growth arrest-specific gene 6 product (Gas6) is inactivated mice do not suffer fatal blood clotting. In addition the mice do not suffer from excessive bleeding (Nat Med 2001, 7:215-221).

Antibodies against Gas6 inhibited platelet aggregation in vitro and protected mice against fatal thrombosis, suggesting Gas6 as a...

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