Our Heritage

The Thrombosis Research Institute, London, UK (registered charity number, 800365) was established in 1989, with the backing of the then UK Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher, specifically to conduct research into cardiovascular disease (of the heart and blood vessels), a major cause of death and disability throughout the world.

The institute contributes to an independent research programme under the direction of our leadership team and Board of Trustees.

Our thrombosis research related to the early detection, prevention and treatment of post-operative venous thromboembolism (VTE) was started in 1965 with a staff group of two. Work conducted in 1969 by the Institute’s Founder, Professor Vijay Kakkar, describing the natural history of deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in surgical patients was among the first to identify the magnitude of this now widely recognised problem. By describing the cause and effect of VTE, he demonstrated for the first time the extent of the problem and the impact for surgical patients of pulmonary embolism (PE).

Professor Kakkar then pioneered new methods for its detection, prevention and treatment. In the early 1970s, he established that DVT / PE could be prevented in surgical patients by using a fixed low dose of heparin. In 1975, a major mortality outcome study ‘The International Multicentre Trial’ (Kakkar W, et al. 1975 Prevention of fatal postoperative pulmonary embolism by low doses of heparin. Lancet, 306: 45-64) validated his original research into the prevention of peri- and post-operative death from PE. This trial, considered the seminal work in the field, found that heparin prophylaxis reduces death from PE, saving seven lives for every 1,000 operated patients.

In 1982, he published the first clinical evaluation of low molecular weight heparin (LMWH) in the prevention of DVT. Since then, a continuous programme of basic and clinical research has further evaluated these agents for the prevention of both arterial and venous thromboembolism, helping to establish LMWH as a gold standard for antithrombotic therapy over several decades. These methods are now used throughout the world and have resulted in the near eradication of deaths due to thrombosis in high risk patients undergoing major surgery, saving approximately 300,000 lives per year worldwide.

Remarkably, the TRI consistently exceeds all expectations of what an institute with limited resources can offer genuinely leading research worldwide and driving through bold innovations.

For more information visit www.tri-london.ac.uk