New York: Taking a cue from the human body’s own blood-clotting process, researchers at University of California, Santa Barbara have developed synthetic platelets that can do more than clot blood.
By creating nanoparticles that mimic the shape, flexibility and surface biology of the body’s own platelets, the team was able to accelerate natural healing processes while opening the door to therapies and treatments that can be customised to specific patient needs.
“This is a significant milestone in the development of synthetic platelets, as well as in targeted drug delivery,” said Samir Mitragotri, director of Center for Bioengineering (CBE) who specialises in targeted therapy technologies.
In case of blood loss due to minor injury, platelets release chemicals that “call” other platelets to the site, eventually plugging the wound.
But what happens when the injury is too severe or the patient is on anti-coagulation medication or is otherwise impaired in his or her ability to form a clot, even for a modest or minor injury?
That’s where platelet-like nanoparticles (PLNs) come in.
“These tiny, platelet-shaped particles that behave just like their human counterparts can be added to the blood flow to supply or augment the patient’s own natural platelet supply, stemming the flow of blood and initiating the healing process,” researchers emphasised.
“We were actually able to render a 65 percent decrease in bleeding time compared to no treatment,” said graduate student researcher Aaron Anselmo, lead author of the study.
With PLNs, emergency situations can be brought under control faster, injuries can heal more quickly and patients can recover with fewer complications, he added.
The results appeared in the journal ACS Nano.