Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Blood Platelets with Extra Powers

Blood platelets have a specific job in the body and that is to stop bleeding via clotting. However, these platelets sometimes fail, specifically in times of severe trauma. A bioengineer at the University of British Columbia may have developed a strategy for adding extra powers to these blood platelets so they can arise to these occasions and continue coagulation. Coagulation depends on a series of complex biochemical reactions, which works great for scrapes and paper cuts; however, trauma often overwhelms this process. "Platelets are the first responders to blood vessel ruptures-- they swarm to the edges of an exposed vessel wall, and their shape changes from smooth and round to sticks and star-like, so they can easily clump together". Then to plug the wound, platelets are woven together by fibrin which then hardens and contracts into a clot. The enzyme that winds the fibrin together is called thrombin. Under extreme stress, such as trauma, causes the chain reaction to fizzle out because of "trauma-induced coagulopathy". Dr. Kastrup and student Vivienne Chan inserted thrombin into nano-sized liposomes, and mixed them with thousands of platelets. After the platelets absorbed the nanoparticles, they immersed them in various types of blood samples. The high thrombin platelets clotted blood approximately 30% faster than normal platelets, and formed clots that were 20% stronger.

This is highly interesting research because "Trauma is the leading killer of people under 45 years old and blood loss is the second most common cause of such deaths". If this were to work in clinical trials, this could potentially save millions of lives. If EMT's had access to these kinds of "super platelets" than they could potentially treat trauma victims on the spot leaving the doctors plenty of time to be able to diagnose and treat patients properly when in the hospital. The important thing to understand is that the research is still relatively new, things begin to get tricky once out of the controlled setting. None the less, the possible benefits of these super-platelets are enormous.  

1 comment:

  1. This was a very interesting research article you found! A trauma can occur at any given moment and now that there is a tactic with blood platelets to help fix the accident more quickly, it could help doctors with emergencies more sufficiently