A research team led by Erin Lavik from the Case Western Reserve University has demonstrated that nanoparticles customized to bind with blood platelets quickly stop bleeding, thus doubling the survival rate in the critical first hour after a lethal injury.
The research team is creating synthetic platelets, which could be used by battlefield medics and first responders to stabilize victims of roadside bomb or car crash. An injection could create healthy blood clots until the victim undergo blood transfusions and surgery. Lavik presented her latest findings at the American Chemical Society's annual meeting conducted in Philadelphia.
The platelet-like nanoparticles are produced from biodegradable polymers utilized in devices that have already received the FDA approval for use in humans. Natural platelets that are triggered by injury release chemicals, which fasten natural platelets and the synthetic platelets into a bigger clot at a rate higher than that can be achieved by natural platelets alone.
The one-hour survival rate demonstrated by these platelet-like nanoparticles when tested on a fatal liver injury model in laboratory rats was 80% when compared to treatment with saline alone and with scrambled nanoparticles. Moreover, the synthetic platelets showed the least blood loss. In addition, the strength demonstrated by the hybrid clots was equivalent to that of natural clots. In additional experiments, the team did not find any complications after nanoparticle administration.
Earlier results demonstrated that the synthetic platelets were able to achieve as high as 50% reduction in bleeding time, and results after one week confirmed that the nanoparticles did not cause any ill effects in rats.
The researchers are testing the synthetic platelets on other injury models in order to get optimal design and dosage for use in humans.