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Trauma Blood Clotting Possible via Platelet-Like Particles
- Updated: September 8, 2014
Researchers from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Arizona State University, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and Emory University, discovered that it is possible to treat trauma using natural blood clotting thanks to enlarged platelet-like particles. Through collaboration, a new class of synthetic platelet-like particles was shown to have the ability to boost natural blood clotting needed for emergency treatment of traumatic injuries.
However, medical professionals are also looking at this discover for other options such as controlling surgical bleeding and treating various blood clotting disorders. If these platelet-like particles work for other purposes, blood transfusions for many patients could be prevented.
These particles, which are deformable hydrogel and soft materials, are triggered by the same factor know to trigger the body’s own natural blood clotting ability. Through intense testing, researchers found them to be highly effective in slowing down bleeding but in addition, they travel through the bloodstream safely.
The findings of this study, which are supported by the American Heart Association and the United States Department of Defense, were published in the most recent Nature Materials journal. According to Ashley Brown, a top research scientist with Georgia Tech School of Chemistry and Biochemistry, the number of deaths associated with trauma could be decreased if paramedics and EMT’s could inject the particles directly to the site of injury.
The bloodstream contains fibrinogen proteins, which are precursors to fibrin, the polymer that provides the basic structure for natural blood clots. When fibrinogen receives the correct signal from a protein called thrombin, fibrin precursors cause polymer to form at the site of bleeding. The platelet-like particles discovered from the study have the ability to cause the same trigger, causing natural blood-clotting.
To create the platelet-like trigger, a process known as “molecular evolution” was followed. With this, an antibody was developed and attached to the hydrogel particles, which then changed its form whenever thrombin-activated fibrin was encountered.
Because these particles expand, researchers believe there are far more uses than just traumatic bleeding. For instance, they feel the particles would help babies who have undergone open heart surgery, hemophiliac patients, and other patients who need platelet transfusions associated with bypass surgery, chemotherapy, and certain types of blood disorders.
The bottom line according to Dr. Wilbur Lam, co-author of the study, doctor in the Aflac Cancer and Blood Disorders Center at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, and doctor with the Department of Pediatrics at the Emory University School of Medicine, although the particles do not possess all assets found in natural platelets, they are highly beneficial for the natural blood clotting process.