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Seek, locate, destroy — Nanotech cleans up blood clots

A concern following a heart attack or stroke is the presence of blood clots (venous thromboembolism.) Clots can lead to constrictions of arteries and exacerbate the stroke or heart issue or they can lead to a occurrence. Currently, dealing with the risk of clots requires a specialist surgical unit. The problems here are the time it takes to transport someone to hospital and the fact that some people cannot be operated on due to the risk of internal bleeding.

To overcome this problem, scientists working at the Baker IDI Heart and the University of Melbourne have developed a nanotechnological solution. This is a device designed to be used by paramedics in the location where someone who has suffered from a heart attack or stroke has been found. No specialist equipment is needed to deliver the treatment.

According to The Latest News, the new technology is composed of “a nanoparticle packed with a clot destroying compound. The outer shell of the nanoparticle is equipped with an antibody that is designed to target activated platelets (the cells that form blood clots.)” The capsule in effect takes over the natural blood clotting mechanism of the body and unravels the blood clot.

The idea of using a nanocapsule packed full of a medicinal product embeds nanotechnology with nanoscience. These terms can be defined as “the study and application of extremely small things and can be used across all the other science fields, such as chemistry, biology, physics, materials science, and engineering.”

The newly created nanoparticles are termed “poly(2-oxazoline) (POx)-based multifunctional polymer capsules.” The nanoparticles have been tested out using animals. The next step is try the particles out on people, through clinical trials. This may take sometime; however, the initial results are promising.

The research outcome been reported to the journal Advanced Materials, in a paper headed “Multifunctional Thrombin-Activatable Polymer Capsules for Specific Targeting to Activated Platelets.”

Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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