Monday, December 28, 2009

US researchers develop intravenous blood-clotting agent

New York (Dec 28, 2009) : Whether in war-torn Iraq and Afghanistan or on the world's roads, many thousands of people bleed to death each year as a result of traffic accidents, gunshot wounds and bombs.
Traumatic injury is the leading cause of death for people aged 4 to 44, US researchers wrote this month in the journal Science Translational Medicine. But they think they have found a way to halt
internal bleeding with the help of nanotechnology.
A team led by Erin Lavik, a biomedical engineer at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, has developed synthetic blood platelets from biodegradable polymers already used in treatments approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), whose regulatory purview includes biologics and blood products.
If injected into a trauma patient, the synthetic nanoparticles could bind at the site of injury with natural blood platelets, thereby hastening clotting. In tests, the synthetic platelets halved
bleeding time in wounded rats. Lavik and her colleagues said that injecting the nanoparticles was like adding sand bags to a levee along a flooding river.
When blood starts to flow from a wound, the researchers explained, natural platelets try to staunch it by binding together using fibrous protein molecules. The synthetic platelets augment this process by binding to the natural ones.
To prevent the synthetic platelets from clumping into dangerous clots, each one is built with a surrounding "shield" of water. In the test animals, surplus synthetic platelets were flushed out of the body within 24 hours.
The researchers said they had been looking for a means to stem internal bleeding that medics could carry in their field packs. "The military has been phenomenal at developing technology to halt bleeding from external or compressible injuries," Lavik remarked, pointing out that the nanoparticles could complement existing therapies

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