Thrombosis and Women's Health: prestigious award for Jonathan Douxfils

In July 2019, Jonathan Douxfils, professor and researcher at the Department of Pharmacy of the UNamur, was granted a EBERHARD F. MAMMEN YOUNG INVESTIGATOR AWARD in recognition of his outstanding contributions in the field of thrombosis and women’s health. This prestigious prize was handed over to him at the ISTH 2019 meeting in Melbourne, where he presented his latest development of a new assay aimed at evaluating the thrombotic risk in women using oral contraceptives.

Resistance to activated protein C (APCr) is a frequent finding in women taking oral contraceptives. This phenomenon is characterized by a poor response to the anticoagulant activity of APC, explaining why intake of oral contraceptives is associated with an increased risk of thrombosis. The assays described so far in the literature that measures the anticoagulant response in plasma towards exogenous APC are home-made and lack standardization and validation.

The prize awarded to Jonathan Douxfils in Melbourne highlights his recent advances in the setup of a new method for calculation of APCr. The improved endogenous thrombin potential (ETP)-based APCr assay is the subject of an original publication: Douxfils et al., 2019. The implementation of the newly developed and validated test, called nAPCsr10, will allow proper study-to-study comparison in order to assess the safety of new steroid contraceptives or new hormone replacement therapy in pharmaceutical development. Moreover, this universal assay can also serve in routine to screen, before use of any hormonal treatment, for women with higher thrombotic risk.

This work is done in collaboration with Prof. Jean-Michel Dogné (Department of Pharmacy, UNamur) and in the framework of a joint university-industry doctoral thesis conducted by Laure Morimont. The project falls under the umbrella of the Namur Thrombosis and Hemostasis Center (NTHC) of NARILIS and originates from QUALIblood, a spin-off company of the UNamur created by Jonathan Douxfils, which is leading its development.