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Polymer aids in blood clotting, pointing way to new treatment

treatments for situations involving uncontrollable bleeding.

Such scenarios, Morrissey said, could include treatment for wounds sustained on battlefields or in accidents, or for hemophilia and other diseases with coagulation deficits.

"The big picture is that we've found a new function for an ancient molecule," he said. "Polyphosphate has been around for billions of years. Roberto's discovery that the granules in platelets are like the granules in trypanosomatids was a key breakthrough."

Docampo's recognition of the acidocalcisome in various organisms has enabled scientists to detect muscle-like motors that operate a variety of movements within cells, said Arthur Kornberg, who won the 1959 Nobel Prize in Medicine or Physiology for discovering mechanisms in the synthesis of ribonucleic acid and deoxyribonucleic acid.

"Roberto has discovered a novel structure of major metabolic importance that regulates the levels of calcium and phosphate within all cells," said Kornberg, an emeritus professor of biochemistry in Stanford University's School of Medicine. "This acidocalcisome has been identified in cells as diverse as bacteria, the protozoa of tropical diseases and the blood-clotting elements of human blood."

Although no longer at Illinois, Docampo said he's thrilled that the research will be continuing through the Carver grant to the U. of I. "It's theoretically possible to use this discovery to find ways to help the body's own blood-clotting mechanisms," he said. "It could be potentially very useful to save lives. Many people with severe injuries die from blood loss not directly resulting from their injuries. This research could open doors to helping in that regard."

In his new lab at Georgia, Docampo will continue to study the purification of polyphosphate present in platelets and on the enzymes involved in its metabolism.

Co-authors with Morrissey and Docampo on the PNAS paper were Peter Rohloff, an Illinois M
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Source:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign


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