Thursday, July 5, 2012

A sniper rifle for blood clots

Researchers from Harvard published a report in Science today on the effectiveness of a new nanoparticle based blood clot therapy. They took anti-clotting drugs and packed them in the middle of tiny clumps of nanoparticles. These clumps floated around the blood vessels of mice until they came across a vessel with a blood clot restricting normal flow. Due to the change in the fluid dynamics at these choke points the particles broke apart and delivered the medication directly at the site of clotting.

Critical blood vessel blockage is the leading cause of death worldwide. Currently anti-clotting agents are tricky drugs to dose.  Too little and the clots remain, too much and excessive bleeding occurs. Surgical procedures like stents and bypasses are invasive and result in recovery periods and loss of quality of life. This therapy could get around all those issues.

The drug delivery system worked well in mice, dramatically increasing survival in a fatal pulmonary embolism model system. Hopefully the system holds up to the rigors of more animal model trials and human trials so that someday soon we can treat clotting issues much more efficiently and in a less invasive fashion.  

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