Holmes Discusses Using Genetics to Predict Clot Risk

December 22, 2016 by Michael Carrese

Among the side effects experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy is a higher risk of blood clots, but determining which patients are most likely to get them is a challenge for physicians.

Chris Holmes, M.D., Ph.D. (Photo: Larner COM Creative Services)

Among the side effects experienced by cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy is a higher risk of blood clots, but determining which patients are most likely to get them is a challenge for physicians. Researchers at the UVM Cancer Center, including Chris Holmes, M.D., Ph.D., and Steven Ades, M.D., both associate professors of medicine at the Larner College of Medicine at the University of Vermont, are using genetics to help predict this risk, potentially sparing many patients from taking blood thinners that come with an additional risk for bleeding.

Blood clots are the third most common cardiovascular illness, which leads to 300,000 deaths annually in the U.S. A 2015 study by Holmes, Ades and colleagues showed that analyzing the genetics of cancer patients’ tumors may provide information that can indicate risk levels, thereby allowing for individualized approaches to treatment and potentially improving quality of life for patients. The researchers have also started a program to help reduce the occurrence of clots in the first place. Listen to a UVM Medical Center Healthsource interview with Holmes here.