Scientists claim drugs that regulate cholesterol levels in the blood may also reduce the risk of dangerous clots, which can cause strokes or heart attacks.
A team of researchers from the University of Reading reduced the size and stability of blood clots in mice and published their findings in Blood Journal.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said the discovery could lead to more effective treatments being created, which was particularly crucial as approximately 32,000 people die in the UK every year after developing a blood clot.
The University of Reading team discovered that the protein LXR was involved in the process when investigating how clots form. LXR is already used to control levels of cholesterol and drug companies have been targeting it for new treatments. The researchers found that drugs which affect LXR reduced the size and stability of growing clots in experiments on mice.
Professor Jeremy Pearson, BHF associate medical director, said: "Both anti-clotting and cholesterol lowering drugs are vital in reducing the chance of a heart attack or stroke in high-risk patients, but are not always effective and don't suit all patients because of the risk of side-effects."