Scientists in the US have designed a two component material that can be injected into the body to help form blood clots at sites of internal injury. These materials, which mimic the way the body naturally forms clots, could offer a way to keep people with serious internal injuries alive until they get to the hospital, researchers said.
A study published in the journal Advanced Healthcare Materials showed that these components nanoparticles and polymer worked significantly better in a mouse model of internal injury than hemostatic nanoparticles that had been developed earlier.
“What was particularly remarkable about these results was the level of recovery from severe injury that we saw in the animal studies.” By introducing two complementary systems in succession, it is possible to obtain a much stronger clot,” said Paula Hammond, a professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the US and one of the lead authors of the study.
Unlike previously developed hemostatic systems, this new technology mimics the action of platelets the cells that initiate blood clotting and fibrinogen, a protein that helps clots form.
Two components injected in blood clots at sites of internal injury
“The idea of using two components allows for selective gelation of the hemostatic system as the concentration in the wound increases, mimicking the end effect of the natural clotting cascade,” said Bradley Olsen, a professor at MIT and lead author of the study.
When an internal injury occurs, platelets are attracted to the site and initiate a blood clotting cascade that eventually forms a sticky plug of platelets and clotting proteins, including fibrinogen.
But if patients lose a lot of blood, they don’t have enough platelets or fibrinogen to form clots, the researchers said.
The MIT team wanted to create an artificial system that could help save human lives by replacing both of these components of blood clotting, they said. To achieve this, the researchers created a system with two types of materials: nanoparticles that recruit platelets and a polymer that mimics fibrinogen. For the platelet-receiving particles, the researchers used particles similar to those reported in the 2022 study.
The particles are made of a biocompatible polymer called PEG-PLGA that is functionalized with a peptide called GRGDS, which allows them to bind to activated platelets, because platelets are attracted to the site of injury, these particles also tend to accumulate at sites of injury, they said.
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