New Clot-Busting Treatments Target Number One Killer
News Aug 06, 2015
The research was jointly lead by Professor Christoph Hagemeyer, Head of the Vascular Biotechnology Laboratory at Baker IDI Heart and Diabetes Institute and Professor Frank Caruso, an ARC Australian Laureate Fellow in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Melbourne.
Professor Hagemeyer said this latest step offers a revolutionary difference between the current treatments for blood clots and what might be possible in the future.
This life saving treatment could be administered by paramedics in emergency situations without the need for specialised equipment as is currently the case.
“We’ve created a nanocapsule that contains a clot-busting drug. The drug-loaded nanocapsule is coated with an antibody that specifically targets activated platelets, the cells that form blood clots,” Professor Hagemeyer said.
“Once located at the site of the blood clot, thrombin (a molecule at the centre of the clotting process) breaks open the outer layer of the nanocapsule, releasing the clot-busting drug. We are effectively hijacking the blood clotting system to initiate the removal of the blockage in the blood vessel,” he said.
Professor Frank Caruso from the Melbourne School of Engineering said the targeted drug with its novel delivery method can potentially offer a safer alternative with fewer side effects for people suffering a heart attack or stroke.
“Up to 55,000 Australians experience a heart attack or suffer a stroke every year.”
“About half of the people who need a clot-busting drug can’t use the current treatments because the risk of serious bleeding is too high,” he said.
Nanoparticles show great promise as diagnostic tools and drug delivery agents. But until now, most nanoparticles had to be injected into the bloodstream because they weren’t absorbed well orally. Now, researchers have modified nanoparticles to improve their uptake in the gastrointestinal tract.