New Treatment for Blood Clots

Study looks at attaching anti-clotting agent to red blood cells

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THURSDAY, July 10, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A new method to combat blood clots may prevent bleeding in people who've had surgery or suffered a stroke.

That's the finding of a new study in the August issue of Nature Biotechnology.

This new approach involves attaching an anti-clotting agent called tissue plasminogen activator to the surface of red blood cells. That prolongs the life of the clot buster in the blood and targets the newly forming blood clots that are most lethal to patients.

Most treatments to dissolve blood clots have only a short lifespan in the blood and can cause bleeding and serious brain injuries by indiscriminately attacking clots around the body.

Researchers at the University of Pennsylvania Medical School tested the new method's ability to dissolve clots in mice and rats. They found the new anti-clotting agent was more stable in circulation and avoided the problems of diffusion from blood vessels, which can cause harmful bleeding.

The study concluded that coating a patient's red blood cells with the anticlotting agent could prevent many clot-related deaths that can't be prevented using current therapies.

More information

Here's where you can learn more about blood clots.

SOURCE: Nature Biotechnology, news release, July 6, 2003

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