Fighting Blood Clots with Magnetic Nanoparticles

Blood clots are a common medical complication responsible for more deaths than most people realize. When blood clots are detected during emergency situations, they are usually treated using medication that has the power to dissolve them.

When the right drugs are used to treat blood clots, they allow blood in the affected vessels to begin flowing optimally as quickly as possible.

Medical experts have described the prevailing method of fighting blood clots. The drugs in question have enzymes that, once the drug is injected into the body, cause the immune system to initiate an assault against the clot, dissolving it in the process.

Unfortunately, drugs like these have a tendency to lose their effectiveness before they can deliver the desired results. As such, to ensure success, these drugs are usually injected in massive doses to ensure that some will reach the clot in time before their efficacy is debilitated.artery_clog

According to Ivan Dudanov, the co-author of a study positing new methods of dissolving clots, doctors have been known to inject drugs in quantities large enough to affect entire collections of blood vessels in order to dissolve some of the smallest clots blocking individual vessels.

What a new report, published in the Scientific Reports Journal, is suggesting is a method of dissolving clots using magnetic nanoparticles that can deliver a far more precise result than the prevailing treatments.

A team of researchers from ITMO University and Mariinsky Hospital in Russia has begun testing an enzyme-based drug that can be magnetically controlled to attack clots in the body.

If successful, this new drug will not only provide more effective means of dissolving clots but it will also reduce the dosage required, which in turn prevents unwanted side effects. And this is important because the prevailing clot-dissolving drugs affect the entire circulation system (not just the clot they are supposed to dissolve) and tend to cause adverse side effects.

Combining a porous magnetite framework with molecules of the enzyme used by most clot-dissolving drugs, this new treatment can be externally guided using a magnet to attack specific clots, this as opposed to affecting an entire network of vessels.

Since the drug uses a clot-dissolving enzyme capable of maintaining its potency for lengthy durations, Ivan Dudanov and his team believe that this drug could be 4,000 times more effective than the current clot-dissolving drugs.

Dudanov also believes that their drug could be allowed to remain in the human body, circulating in the blood, cleaning the vessels and, thus, preventing clots in the long run. It just remains to be seen whether the preclinical studies will deliver the positive results Dudanov is hoping for.