Tag Archives: biochemistry

Clot, Unclot. Rinse, Repeat.

Are you worried about excessive blood clotting?  Well, you should be.

A blood clot is a jelly-like mass of tissue formed by clotting (coagulating) factors in the blood as a normal reaction to injury of a blood vessel. This is a great mechanism of the body when it occurs to stop the bleeding caused by an injury. However, blood clots can become very dangerous, like when plaque deposits in the blood vessel walls rupture and a blood clot forms. If a piece of the blood clot breaks away and gets into the bloodstream, it can block the flow of blood to the heart or brain and cause a heart attack or stroke.

Luckily there are drugs available to prevent excessive clot formation.  Unfortunately, if too much of these blood “thinners” are used, the patient can have a reverse problem – not enough clotting which could then increase the risk of hemorrhage or uncontrolled bleeding.  The problem is, once these anticoagulants are used, they are difficult to clear out of the blood quickly, which can lead to serious problems.

In a recent publication, researchers  Daniel Capelluto and Carla Finkielstein together with students Karen Drahos and John Welsh identified a novel protein/ligand interaction that regulates the initial process of platelet aggregation and leads to clot formation.  That is great all by itself, but the exciting part is that this mechanism is reversible.   So it provides a way to quickly reverse the treatment if a patient is injured or otherwise needs to reduce blood levels of the pharmaceutical.   In addition, it may be a useful adjunct to control the extent of bleeding during a normal surgical procedure or promote wound healing.

An added bonus:  unlike some treatments, this type of intervention is unlikely to stimulate an immune response.

You can read more about this specific invention  here, and you can talk about it with a real live person by contacting  Jackie Reed (jreed@vtip.org, 540-443-9217).  Also you can learn more about the researchers and their work by reading some articles written about them.  Here is one.  Here is another.

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