Investigating the role of coagulation in the pathogenesis of Buruli ulcer


  • Dr Rachel Simmonds

    University of Surrey

Project summary

The neglected tropical disease Buruli ulcer is caused by a flesh-eating bacteria called Mycobacterium ulcerans. We have recently discovered that the bacteria causes a type of blood clot in patients’ skin with similar characteristics to those that cause deep vein thrombosis (DVT). We have already found an association with the loss of the anticoagulant gene thrombomodulin, but coagulation is a complex process resulting from a disturbance in the balance between procoagulant and anticoagulant forces. 

We will investigate what other coagulation components contribute to the clots and investigate the contribution of this process to overall disease progression. This will help us design improved treatments for Buruli ulcer because, like DVT, the clots may respond to anticoagulant medicines. 

This chronic debilitating disease affects mostly poor rural communities in West Africa. This research will help with the treatment of these patients who currently face permanent disfigurement and disability.