This week at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society in Philadelphia, Erin Lavik and her team of researchers from Case Western University reported on progress towards a portable treatment for stopping internal bleeding. Internal bleeding is a major problem after severe impact injuries. In the military, it is the leading cause of battlefield deaths. Yet, no effective portable treatment currently exists to stop internal bleeding, and even at a hospital, a treatment with a coagulation factor VIIa (NovoSeven) on a compassionate use basis puts the patient at risk of forming dangerous blood clots elsewhere in the body.
Lavik’s treatment is a synthetic version of platelets, which are the nano-designed disc-shaped particles in blood that promote clotting at the site of a wound. These synthetic platelets are so tiny that 10 would fit across the width of a single human hair. Their role isn’t to replace natural platelets, but to stick to them to create a faster and more efficient blood clot. The platelet nanoparticles are made up of polyester spheres, which is the same material used in dissolvable sutures. They’re surrounded by polyethylene glycol, a substance found in many consumer products. Finally a peptide is attached to the spheres to make them stick to platelets. The result is a new material that lasts twice as long as donated platelets, doesn’t require refrigeration, does its work and disappears like dissolvable sutures, and has proven itself more effective than factor VIIa in tests on rats.
Given the potential superiority over current treatment options, these lifesaving particles could soon find themselves on the front lines with medics or supplied to EMTs and first responders.
More info from the American Chemical Society: Toward a portable emergency treatment for stopping life-threatening internal bleeding…