If you don’t get a hemorrhage under control within the first few minutes, further treatment and healing are impossible. For this reason, stemming the free flow of blood from an injury remains a “holy grail” of clinical medicine, such as for traumatic injuries, illness, and surgery.
By creating nanoparticles that mimic the shape, flexibility, and surface biology of the body’s own platelets, researchers now can accelerate natural healing processes while opening the door to therapies and treatments that can be customized for specific patients.
“This is a significant milestone in the development of synthetic platelets, as well as in targeted drug delivery,” says Samir Mitragotri, director of the Center for Bioengineering at the University of California, Santa Barbara.
That’s where platelet-like nanoparticles (PLNs) come in. These tiny, platelet-shaped particles that behave just like their human counterparts can be added to the blood flow to supply or augment the patient’s own natural platelet supply, stemming the flow of blood and initiating the healing process, while allowing physicians and other caregivers to begin or continue the necessary treatment.
Emergency situations can be brought under control faster, injuries can heal more quickly, and patients can recover with fewer complications.
“We were actually able to render a 65 percent decrease in bleeding time compared to no treatment,” says Anselmo.