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UC Santa Barbara researchers develop synthetic platelets
Date:5/30/2012

to not only perform the typical functions of human platelets; but may also be used to carry imaging agents to identify damaged blood vessels or to deliver drugs that dissolve blood clots.

The synthetic platelets represent the latest and one of the most advanced in a line of efforts over the last century to mimic platelet function. While clotting factors and platelets from outside donors are used widely to halt bleeding, immune system responses and thrombosis have been issues. Non-platelet-derived substitutes have also received attention; however, said Doshi, these do not physically resemble the physical features of natural platelets.

"This development is a significant milestone in the field of biomimetic materials," said Samir Mitragotri, professor of chemical engineering, director of UC Santa Barbara's Center for Bioengineering, and an author of the paper. "By capitalizing on our capabilities in engineering materials, with the expertise in platelet biology that exists in Professor Ruggeri's laboratory, our synthetic platelets combine unique physical and biological attributes that mimic natural platelets." Biomaterials research is one of the principal focus areas in UCSB's Center for BioEngineering. In 2009, Doshi and colleagues in the Mitragotri laboratory developed synthetic red blood cells.

"This work is a marvelous demonstration of the power of material synthesis applied to medical problems. The synthetic platelets can have profound implications in wound-healing problems for trauma and wounds arising in both battlefield situations and during surgery," said Frank Doyle, director of UCSB's Institute of Collaborative Biotechnologies and the Associate Dean of Research of UCSB's College of Engineering.

Other authors of the study include Jennifer N. Orje, Blanca Molins, and Zaverio Ruggeri from Scripps Research Institute; and Jeffrey Smith from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute.


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Contact: Sonia Fernandez
sonia.fernandez@ia.ucsb.edu
805-893-4765
University of California - Santa Barbara
Source:Eurekalert  

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