Future innovations in anti-platelet therapies

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Platelets have long been recognized to be of central importance in haemostasis, but their participation in pathological conditions such as thrombosis, atherosclerosis and inflammation is now also well established. The platelet has therefore become a key target in therapies to combat cardiovascular disease. Anti-platelet therapies are used widely, but current approaches lack efficacy in a proportion of patients, and are associated with side effects including problem bleeding. In the last decade, substantial progress has been made in understanding the regulation of platelet function, including the characterization of new ligands, platelet-specific receptors and cell signalling pathways. It is anticipated this progress will impact positively on the future innovations towards more effective and safer anti-platelet agents. In this review, the mechanisms of platelet regulation and current anti-platelet therapies are introduced, and strong, and some more speculative, potential candidate target molecules for future anti-platelet drug development are discussed.

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