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New nanoparticles make blood clots visible
Date:2/2/2011

ood clots from calcium interference.

Saving lives

More than simply confirming a heart attack, the new nanoparticles and spectral CT scanner can show a clot's exact location.

Today, even if doctors determine the patient is having a heart attack, they can't locate the clot without admitting the patient to the cardiac catheterization lab, inserting a dye and looking for narrow plaque-filled arteries they could open with stents. But Lanza says looking for narrow arteries doesn't solve all the problems.

"The ones that have very narrow openings are not the worrisome ones," Lanza says. "We find those in the cardiac catheterization lab and we open them up."

What is worrisome is when blood is free to flow through the arteries, but there is unstable plaque on the artery wall, what Lanza calls "moderate-grade disease."

"Most people's heart attacks or strokes are from moderate-grade disease that breaks off and all of a sudden blocks an artery," Lanza says. "It's what happened to NBC newsman Tim Russert. You need something that tells you there is ruptured plaque even when the vessel isn't very narrow."

Since this nanoparticle finds and sticks to fibrin in the vessels, it would allow doctors to see problems that were previously difficult or impossible to detect.

With this imaging technique, Lanza predicts new approaches to treating coronary disease. Unstable plaque that doesn't restrict much blood flow does not require an expensive stent to prop the vessel open. Instead, Lanza foresees technologies that might act like Band-Aids, sealing weak spots in the vessel walls.

"Today, you wouldn't know where to stick the Band-Aid," Lanza says. "But spectral CT imaging with bismuth nanoparticles would show the exact location of clots in the vessels, making it possible to prevent the dangerous rupture of unstable plaque."


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Contact: Julia Evangelou Strait
straitj@wustl.edu
314-286-0141
Washington University School of Medicine
Source:Eurekalert  

Page: 1 2 3

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