Issue Date: June 8, 2009
Specks Mark The Clot
Iron oxide nanoparticles, when decorated with a fluorescent dye and the right peptide, can drift through blood vessels and light up newly formed clots to determine whether they are good candidates for treatment with thrombolytic drugs, according to a report by Jason R. McCarthy, Farouc A. Jaffer, and coworkers of Massachusetts General Hospital (Bioconjugate Chem., DOI: 10.1021/bc9001163). Removing those blockages with medication is risky because the same drug that clears one blood vessel may trigger serious bleeding in another area, such as the brain. To avoid those tragic side effects, the researchers proposed that functionalized nanoparticles could serve as magnetic resonance imaging contrast agents to help doctors decide whether a patient should receive clot-busting drugs. Bearing the dye molecules, the same nanoparticles make blockages shine for a catheter-based fluorescence microscope that can be used to watch a treated clot dissolve in real time. Key to the strategy, which the researchers tested in mice, is coupling the particles with a peptide that irreversibly binds factor XIIIa, a protein that is found only in fresh clots. The team plans further studies on the nanoparticles to evaluate thrombolytic drugs in vivo and to monitor clot formation on stents.
- Chemical & Engineering News
- ISSN 0009-2347
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