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Injectable synthetic blood clots stop internal bleeding to save lives

Date: 1.5.2023 

Scientists at MIT have developed a synthetic system that can stem internal bleeding, to help more people survive long enough to reach a hospital after a traumatic injury. Two components come together at the wound to form a clot, without doing so elsewhere in the body where it might be dangerous.

Kredit: Christine Daniloff/MIT.Traumatic events like car crashes can cause internal bleeding, and if patients don’t reach a hospital in time they can be fatal. Finding ways to stop the bleeding can extend that window, potentially saving lives.

The MIT team has now developed a synthetic system that could be injected by first responders to stem internal bleeding. It does so using nanoparticles and polymers that work to boost the formation of natural blood clots.

Normally, cells called platelets are attracted to the site of a wound, where they trigger a cascade of processes that form a sticky clot. A protein called fibrinogen is also important for maintaining the structure of these clots.

The new system is made up of two major components – nanoparticles that recruit platelets, and a polymer that mimics fibrinogen. The nanoparticles are made of a biocompatible material called PEG-PLGA, and have a peptide that helps them bind to activated platelets.

This means that they accumulate where there are higher concentrations of platelets, such as wounds, and work to draw even more to the area. The size of these nanoparticles has also been optimized to be between 140 and 220 nanometers, which keeps them from building up in organs like the lungs where clots can be dangerous.

Image source: Christine Daniloff/MIT.





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