Bioengineers have developed synthetic nanoparticles that can be injected to cut bleeding time in half.
Augmenting the blood-clotting nature of platelets naturally found in blood, the nanoparticles bond with the natural platelets -- which themselves bind together to stop blood flow -- to help form a nanostructural barrier.
In tests, the researchers -- led by Case Western Reserve University professor Erin Lavik -- found that the nanoparticles cut bleeding in wounded rats in half. That means the use of synthetic platelets could theoretically double the time nurses and doctors have to stabilize a wounded patient.
Called QuickClot, the synthetic platelets are based on Arg-Gly-Asp functionalized nanoparticles, and trump the results of other treatments, including recombinant factor VIIa, which is used clinically for uncontrolled bleeding. The researchers found no complications seven days after infusion.
Interestingly, synthetic platelets could also lend a hand for injuries that doctors can't find or reach: internal bleeding. If first responders were equipped with synthetic platelets, patients might have a better chance as they're raced to the emergency room.
It's unclear whether the synthetic platelets could make a substantial impact on a hemophiliac.
Synthetic platelets could also help on the battlefield, where soldiers don't have the luxury of a proper hospital. The potential to stop bleeding more quickly means soldiers have a better shot of reaching proper medical care in the field.
The researchers' results were published in Science Translational Medicine.
This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com