15 April 2024

Synthetic platelets have been shown to stop bleeding of an injury in animal studies, researchers have reported.

The platelets have been developed for use with patients of any blood type, and are designed to find their way to the site of injury and promote healing, according to the developers at the University of North Carolina, USA.

The synthetic platelets are made of hydrogel nanoparticles that mimic the size, shape and mechanical properties of human platelets. They incorporate antibody fragments that bind to fibrin and so promote clotting.

Reporting in the journal Science Translational Medicine, the researchers have shown that the platelets work in animal studies involving mice and pigs. They believe the synthetic platelets could be manufactured at a similar cost to the costs of providing human platelets.

Researcher Dr Ashley Brown, a biomedical engineer, said: “In the mouse and pig models, healing rates were comparable in animals that received platelet transfusions and synthetic platelet transfusions. And both groups fared better than animals that did not receive either transfusion.

“We also found that the animals in both mouse and pig models were able to safely clear the synthetic platelets over time through normal kidney function. We didn’t see any adverse health effects associated with the use of the synthetic platelets.”

She added: “We are wrapping up preclinical efficacy testing and are in the process of securing funding for preclinical safety work that should allow us to obtain FDA approval to begin clinical trials within two years.”


Nellenbach K, Mihalko E, Nandi S, Koch DW, Shetty J, Moretti L, Sollinger J, Moiseiwitsch N, Sheridan A, Pandit S, Hoffman M, Schnabel LV, Lyon LA, Barker TH, Brown AC. (2024) “Ultrasoft platelet-like particles stop bleeding in rodent and porcine models of trauma.” Science Translational Medicine, 10 April 2024, doi: 10.1126/scitranslmed.adi4490.

Link: https://www.science.org/doi/10.1126/scitranslmed.adi4490

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