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Synthetic Platelets
Nanoparticles stimulate blood clots

Source: “Intravenous Hemostat: Nanotechnology to Halt Bleeding”
Erin B. Lavik et al.
Science Translational Medicine
1(11): 11ra22

Results: Specially treated nanoparticles quickly stop bleeding by binding to blood platelets, the core of the body’s own clotting system. When injected into rodents in which an artery had been partially severed, the nanoparticles reduced bleeding time from four minutes to two.

Why it matters: Existing methods for stemming blood loss after traumatic injuries work best with open wounds or in the operating room, since they require direct access to the site of the bleeding. An injectable treatment could effectively stanch internal bleeding from wounds that existing treatments can’t reach.

Methods: Each particle contains molecules of polyethylene glycol (PEG)–a water-soluble compound that keeps the particles from sticking to each other or to blood vessels–attached to a polymer core. The PEG molecules are topped with a peptide sequence that binds to activated platelets, helping them stick together to form clots.

Next steps: Researchers plan to test the particles in larger animals, whose circulatory systems more closely approximate those of humans. They will also test them in different types of wounds, such as those that mimic the effects of blast injuries, which are particularly common among troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. The trauma that results from an explosion–for example, when someone is thrown against the ground–can shear blood vessels, causing internal bleeding.

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Credit: Courtesy of Edward Doherty, Omar Ali, and Microvision Labs

Tagged: Biomedicine

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